Joint operation nets nine arrests on child sexual exploitation charges

Adam Curtis Police Press Releases, Public Affairs Press Releases

The Sierra Vista Police Department partnered with local, state, and federal agencies to conduct a joint operation resulting in the arrests of nine individuals on charges tied to using the internet to lure a minor for sexual exploitation last week.

The operation was conducted for the last several weeks by members of the local Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which includes personnel from Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sierra Vista Police Department. Deputies from the Tombstone Marshal’s Office and officers with the Bisbee Police Department also assisted in the arrest of a subject. The ICAC continuously provides investigative leads, specific training, and resources to member agencies to assist in child crime investigations.

The operation sought to identify adults using the internet and various social media sites to commit crimes against children. The operation resulted in the arrest of nine individuals who were charged at the federal and state levels for various crimes related to luring minors for sexual activity or having minors take sexually explicit photos.

Hereford resident Wayne Hawkins was arrested without incident at about 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12. He was booked into the Cochise County Jail on charges of aggravated luring a minor for sexual exploitation, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, and attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

Sierra Vista resident Kevin Echternach was arrested without incident at about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13. He was booked into the Cochise County Jail on charges of aggravated luring a minor for sexual exploitation, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, and attempted sexual conduct and with a minor.

Chandler resident Joshua Davilla was arrested after a pursuit that began in Sierra Vista and ended in Tombstone at about 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13. He was booked into the Cochise County Jail on charges of aggravated luring a minor for sexual exploitation, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, attempted sexual conduct with a minor, felony flight from law enforcement, and endangerment.

Sierra Vista resident Aaron Michael Garner was arrested by detectives from the Arizona Department of Public Safety without incident on Friday, Feb. 15, at about 5:45 p.m. He was booked into Cochise County Jail on charges of luring a minor for sexual exploitation.

Sierra Vista resident Toefilo Lopez Jr. was arrested without incident on Friday, Feb. 15, at about 7:45 p.m. He was booked into the Cochise County Jail on charges of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

Sierra Vista resident Alexandru Dumtrascu was arrested without incident on Saturday, Feb. 16, at about 9 p.m. He was booked into Cochise County Jail on charges of aggravated luring a minor for sexual exploitation, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, and attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations arrested three additional individuals as part of this operation. These individuals were processed and transported to the U.S. District Court in Tucson.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding crimes involving the sexual exploitation of minors can contact SVPD Detective Thomas Ransford at (520) 452-7500.