Pinellas SVU arrests 15 during chat investigation

- Pinellas County Sheriff's Office investigators arrested 15 men who arranged personal meetings with online decoys they thought to be minors. 

Investigators said one of the suspects, arrested for traveling to meet a minor, told investigators that he traveled three and a half hours from Lake Worth to meet a 13-year-old girl.

One identified himself as a nurse at a local hospital.  

Another, Timothy Allen, is listed as a registered sex offender who either pled guilty to or was convicted of - lewd or lascivious molestation, victim 12-15 years old, offender 18 or older in 2000; lewd or lascivious battery, victim 12-15 years old in 2006.

Pinellas investigators with the special victim's, crimes against children, homicide/robbery, computer forensics and community policing units conducted the five-day operation, called Operation Wayfarer. The purpose was to look for people chatting online for the purpose of meeting and engaging in sexual activity with minors. 

From Wednesday, January 20 through Sunday, Jan. 24 investigators posed as minors on websites labeled as online classified pages, social media and chat rooms. 

Investigators worked to establish rapport with subjects and developed cases where they arranged to meet with for the purpose of sexual activity.

Investigators said the suspects explicitly sought out minors for sex.

Those arrested range in age from 20 to 47 and were arrested on various charges.

Arrests and charges:

Timothy David Allen (Registered Sex Offender)

  • 36
  • St. Petersburg
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Hector R. Paz Jr. 

  • 21
  • Seminole
  • Charges: Certain Uses of Computer Services or Devices Prohibited, Driving While License Suspended

Jared S. Sanchez

  • 33
  • Palm Harbor
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor, Transmission of Material Harmful to Minors, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Neil M. Ganchero 

  • 40
  • Clearwater
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor, Certain Uses of Computer Services or Devices Prohibited

Dennis W. Felton 

  • 23
  • Tampa
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor, Transmission of Material Harmful to Minors, Online Solicitation of a Minor, Possession of Marijuana.

Morris J. Poole

  • 29
  • St. Petersburg
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, warrant arrest for Violation of Probation Grand Theft, Possession of Marijuana

Terrell Newsome 

  • 22
  • St. Petersburg
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Widmaer Euzebe 

  • 25
  • St. Petersburg
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Austin W. Randall III 

  • 26
  • Lutz
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Marcus F Pugh 

  • 36
  • Largo
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Orlando J. Alvarez 

  • 31
  • St. Petersburg
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Jose M. Aguirre 

  • 38
  • Tampa
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Steven Lusenie 

  • 27
  • Largo
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Thomas L. Elder 

  • 20
  • Lake Worth
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Matthew A. Dennison

  • 47
  • Palm Harbor
  • Charges: Traveling to Meet a Minor

The suspects were arrested and transported to the Pinellas County Jail. The investigation continues. 

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