The Collin County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday it arrested 19 men in Operation Athena, which directly targeted those who utilize the internet to prey upon children and traffic in child pornography.
Investigators from 12 different federal, state and local law enforcement agencies participated in Operation Athena from July 8-July 12.
This is the fourth large-scale investigation by the CCSO – following Operations Zeus, Medusa and Atlas – since May 2017.
Those arrested include 16 adults and one minor. Three of the suspects were charged with online solicitation of a minor – Harold Henson, Ryan Birkland and Johnathan Nestick. Sixteen were charged with possession of child pornography – the unnamed juvenile, Fredrick Dufour, Travis Carnes, Ronnie Lorenz, Derald Hamlett, Jose Guajardo, Robert Dickens, Michael Welborn, Sean Bartlett, Adam McKinney, Andrew Pfahler, William Johnson, Dennis McCarthy, Jason Stuart, Anas Alhesan and Douglas Barron.
Bartlett was arrested in early June when the CCSO Child Exploitation Unit found found images and videos on a computer during the execution of a search warrant in his home. Analysis of the computer revealed the child pornography images and videos of a small Dachshund dog being tortured at the residence.
Throughout the investigation, deputies executed search and arrest warrants and seized electronic devices used by the suspects. These devices will undergo further forensic examination and additional arrests are expected, according to the CCSO.
“The protection of our children continues to be one of my top priorities,” Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said. “This type of operation wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation that exists among all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in North Texas and the investigators who work tirelessly to root out this evil.”
The multi-agency effort includes: Wylie Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, Homeland Security Investigations, Collin County Child Protective Investigations, Carrollton Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Farmers Branch Police Department, Frisco Police Department, Grapevine Police Department, Child Advocacy Center of Collin County and Collin County District Attorney’s Office.