Operation Downpour arrests nine men in child sex sting

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The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) arrested nine men recently in an undercover operation titled, “Operation Downpour.” This was one of many operations over the past several years that an SJSO undercover operation utilized the internet to locate and identify persons who use it to sexually exploit children. 

The operation was led by SJSO Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Detectives under the auspices of the North Florida ICAC Task Force. Assisting agencies included, F.B.I., Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Attorney’s Office, 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Offices of St. Johns, Volusia, Putnam Counties, as well as Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The St. Augustine Beach and Orange Park Police Departments also provided personnel to assist in the operation. 

The operation involved undercover detectives posing as children online to arrange for unknown suspects to meet with them at an undercover location that was located in St. Johns County. During this time, nine individuals made plans and traveled to the undisclosed location in an attempt to solicit children. Once the suspects arrived at the location, they were taken into custody by arrest teams. 

Of those arrested three were from Duval County, one each from St. Johns, Alachua, Clay and Flagler Counties in Florida and one each from McCord, Washington and South Gate, California. The nine suspects range in age from 18 to 34 years old and are facing all felony charges. 

Those arrested, their charges and bonds are: 

Clarence Bernard Thomas, 28, Jacksonville 

Ct. 1: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Behavior 

Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device 

Ct. 4: Solicit a child for sex 

Bonds totaled $12,500 

Orion Kade Healy, 19, Palm Coast 

Ct. 1: Traveling to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 2: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device 

Ct. 3: Solicit a child for sex 

Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery 

Ct. 5: Tampering with Evidence 

Bonds totaled $45,000 

Michael Edward Beck II, 21, Jacksonville 

Ct. 1: Solicit a child for sex 

Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device 

Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery 

Ct. 5: Transmission of Harmful Material to Mino 

Ct. 6: Possession of Marijuana 

Bonds Totaled $33,000 

Raymomd Edward Wygant, 25, Washington 

Ct. 1: Solicit a child for sex 

Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device 

Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery 

Bonds Totaling $32,500 

Ethan Nathaniel Persson, 18, St. Augustine 

Ct. 1: Solicit a child for sex 

Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device 

Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery 

Bonds Totaling $35,000 

Ernie Mendoza Aleman, 31, California 

Ct. 1: Solicit a child for sex 

Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device 

Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery 

Bonds Totaling $50,000 

Matthew Bernard Browne, 28, Gainesville 

Ct. 1: Traveling to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 2: Solicit a child for sex 

Ct. 3: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery 

Ct. 4: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device 

Bonds Totaling $35,000 

Jhony Antonio Chacon-Montiel, 34, Jacksonville 

Ct. 1: Travel to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 2: Unlawful use of a two-way communications deice 

Ct. 3: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery 

Ct. 4: Use a computer to solicit a child for sex 

No Bond 

Joshua Ryan Blankenship, 28, Green Cove Springs 

Ct. 1: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery 

Ct. 2: Unlawful use of a two-way communications deice 

Ct.3: Travel to meet a minor for sex 

Ct. 4: Use a computer to solicit a child for sex 

Ct. 5: Possession of a Controlled substance w/o prescription 

Ct. 6: Possession of Methamphetamine 

No Bond       

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