Updated at 12:25 p.m. Friday.
The Denton County Sheriff’s Office, along with several other agencies, arrested 13 people on charges of online solicitation of a minor during a sting operation Jan. 23-24.
According to a news release from Sheriff Tracy Murphree, the sting was part of the larger Joint Online Solicitation Operation, which also resulted in the arrests of 10 people under similar circumstances in July.
Alongside Denton County deputies, law enforcement personnel from various local, state and federal agencies were on site to aid in the arrests, including members of Homeland Security Investigations, a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI and Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspects arrested in last week’s operation were Oscar N. Escobar, Ricardo Martinez, Zachary Randall Stephens, Florencio G. Carmona, Francisco Pinacati Artacho II, Brandon Elliott Boone, Lucas K. Hammond, Saturnino Castillo Nunez, Donald Ray Noska Jr., Roberto Manuel Gomez, James Douglas Long, Scott Anthony Green and Chad Alan Hightower.
All 13 suspects were solicited for sex with a minor under the age of 17 and agreed to meet the fictional minor at an undisclosed location in Denton, said Orlando Hinojosa, a spokesman for the Denton County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigations and evidence gathering continue for seven additional people who did not agree to meet with a minor, according to the release.
Six of the suspects live in Denton County, with the others spread out in neighboring counties. Two of the men suspected of being in the country illegally had immigration detainers placed on them by ICE.
The Dallas Morning News reported that after his arrest, Noska was fired from the University of North Texas. He was an administrative coordinator in the Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, spokeswoman Leigh Gullett told The News. Noska was also listed as a cleric on the Celtic Christian Church’s website but has since been removed, according to a press release issued late Thursday from the church.
“These predators cross all lines of race, age, and social economic backgrounds,” Murphree said in the press release. “From the college administrator to the unemployed all were looking to have sex with children.”
Hinojosa confirmed that other operations would happen, but could not disclose when they might take place.
“It will always be an ongoing investigation,” he said. “We have these predators looking for children.”