Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha announced today the arrest of five men following a multi-day sting operation designed to interdict online child predators.
The KCSO operation was completed on Wednesday, Sept. 15 and resulted in the arrest of Joseph James Valles, 52, of Kerrville; Adrian Steven Rodriguez, 31, of Kerrville; Cody Garrett Bowen, 31, of Kerrville; Cesar Alvarez, 48, of San Antonio; and Jorge Pichardo, 42, of San Antonio.
“A total of five suspects were arrested after talking online with officers and attempting to meet what they believed to be underage males and females,” Leitha said. “The Kerr County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank our inter-agency partners at the state and local level for their outstanding contributions. Through their professionalism and collaboration, this operation was successful in uncovering and intercepting online dangers to the children in Kerr County. More than a dozen officers participated in this operation, from many areas of law enforcement."
Participating in the operation were officers from the KCSO Criminal Investigation Division, KCSO Special Operations Division, Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division, Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Rangers, Kerrville Police Department, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Office of the Inspector General and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Leitha said.
“The arrest of a single subject can prevent the victimization of dozens of underage people. We are actively seeking additional information about other victims for further law enforcement action,” Leitha said. “The KCSO team, working closely with other jurisdictions, will spare no effort to protect the children of Kerr County. We appreciate the strong support of our local and state colleagues. They did a great job in making this operation a success.”
Valles, who was arrested and charged with prostitution (person under 18), has a previous conviction for capital murder and is currently being held a $50,000 bond.
Rodriguez is facing a charge of online solicitation of a minor/sexual contact and his bond was set at $50,000.
Bowen was charged with online solicitation of a minor/sexual contact. Bowen was also booked in the Kerr County Jail, where he is being held on a $50,000 bond.
Alvarez was booked on a charge of online solicitation of prostitution and is being held without bond.
Pichardo is also being held without bond on a charge of online solicitation of a minor/sexual contact, as well as resisting arrest.
“This operation represents a new era in confronting those who victimize children in our area,” Leitha said. “This multi-agency effort produced multiple arrests of people trying to meet underage victims. Using digital, in-person, and online methods, we have prevented immediate and ongoing threats. Operations of this kind combat human trafficking, child sex crime, among other criminal activity.”
Additional charges may be added as this investigation continues, Leitha said, adding that as in all criminal cases, charges may be added or modified prior to trial and all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.