WSP and local law enforcement say sting operation has taken 21 child predators off the streets

A five-day operation run by the Washington State Patrol and several local law enforcement partners and affiliates has removed from their communities 21 allegedly dangerous sexual predators, who law enforcement says targeted children in Pierce County.

Among the suspects “Operation Net Nanny” has identified to date are two Auburn men: Michael E. Moffitt, 22; and Reginaldo Morales Cardenas, 37.

Detectives believe they have identified four additional suspects for having access to more than 10 children at risk of abuse. Supplemental follow-up investigations are underway to identify those children and to arrange for them to get the help they need for any abuse to which they may have been exposed.

Since the WSP launched Net Nanny in August of 2015, there have been 12 additional operations throughout the state, in total netting 205 arrests and rescuing more than 30 identified child victims. The WSP Missing and Exploited Children Task Force, an Internet Crimes Against Children affiliate, leads the multi-agency operation, which includes partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement.

“While the Internet is a powerful tool for our nation, criminals using it to target our communities’ necessitates a need for this type of proactive investigation by our law enforcement troopers and partners … to combat these horrible crimes,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste.

Undercover law enforcement officers communicated on the internet through various websites and mobile phone applications with people who wanted to have sex with children. The operation generated hundreds of responses. The would-be perpetrators who were arrested over the five-day operation traveled to meet with undercover detectives posing as young girls and boys with the intent to engage in sexual activity with children as young as nine years old.

Among the other individuals arrested during the operation are: Malik N. Williams, 22, Federal Way; Carlos A. Valdez, 19, Joint Base Lewis McCord (JBLM); Arthur J. Pederson, 26, Puyallup; Mathew Fowler, 59, Puyallup; Jason L. Bond, 51, Federal Way; and Andrew D. McKenzie, 27, Seattle.

Anyone with information related to the suspects listed, or information leading to the identity of victims potentially involved in these cases, please contact Washington State Patrol at mectf@wsp.wa.gov or wsp.wa.gov/crime/mectf.

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