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SUTTER COUNTY — Sutter County investigators will be prosecuting almost 40 criminals who illegally engaged with minors in an online sting.

This April, Sutter County District Attorney’s Office Chief Investigator Jason Parker set up a Facebook profile for a 14-year-old girl. Her back story was that she was a lonely girl with divorced parents who liked to smoke pot and wanted attention from Facebook users.

“It’s very disturbing to see what’s out there,” Parker said.

He created the profile using age regression software, and started “Operation Facebook.” The goal was to catch men and women praying on vulnerable children.

Within a few days, this fake girl received several messages from strangers agreeing to meet with her, give her drugs, send nude pictures and/or have sex.

“A few of them, it was ‘Hey let’s just hook up and have sex.’ And others, it was the majority of them, wanted a relationship with this girl. We were clear up front that this girl was 14 years old,” Parker said.

Wednesday, the Sutter County District Attorney’s office announced the arrest of 32 people for illegally engaging with minors.

Most of them were caught through Facebook and the rest were through Craigslist. Many were career criminals, some military men, others with no record at all.

“It’s just looking for kids who are struggling, and they want to come in like a father figure. They say ‘Hey, I’m going to take care of you,’ but it’s obvious what they want out of it,” Parker said.

“They’re just all concerned about being caught. Are you a cop? Are you somehow affiliated with law enforcement? Is this a set up? None of them cared about the kids,” said Clint Curry, deputy district attorney for Sutter County.

Parker worked closely with the district attorney’s office to make sure none of the communications led to “entrapment.”

“This is just the perfect avenue for predators to come after you, and find you, and they’re going to promise you the world and take everything from you in the end.”

There were women who responded to the Facebook and Craigslist posts. However, none were arrested, due to lack of evidence.

So far, the DA’s office is prosecuting the following:

Rigo Alexander Alvarado, 28, Sacramento
Joshua Banez, 29, Yuba City
Puran Bhunga, 25, Yuba City
Marcus Campbell, 21, Yuba City
Jeffrey Fomin, 56, Yuba City
Kenneth Hatchett, 25, Yuba City
Jorge Hernandez-Rojas, 28, Live Oak
Justin Johnson, 33, Yuba City
Sven Johnson, 32, Marysville
Roberto Ledesma, 40, Yuba City
Darion Sandoval, 21, Yuba City
Arnold Serrano, 48, Yuba City
Steven Tapp, 21, Yuba City
Dakota Wenner, 21, Marysville
Justin Ziegenmeyer, 31, Yuba City
Jeff Albo, 50, Washington state
Nicholas Brown, 26, Oroville
Esteban Carlos, 18, Yuba City
David Chavarin, 33, North Highlands
Nicholas Condrey, 31, Yuba City
Kim Lee Cozby, 34, Marysville
Brandon Grigger, 26, Marysville
Thomas Hawk, 45, Marysville
Thomas Joseph, 50, Marysville
Michael Lee -Kim, 23, Washington
Jayson Mehler, 24, Yuba City
Howard Montenegro, 45, Sacramento
Timothy Neher, 40, Chico
Ivin Rhyne Jr., 42, Yuba City
Derek Rudd, 45, Yuba City
Nathaniel Sands, 37, West Sacramento
Ryan Coats, 41, Sacramento

The DA’s office is currently conducting searches for others.