Editor's Note: Court documentation provided for Sanjeev Hansraj Seenath shows the state declined to prosecute his case and sealed his records from any such criminal history.
BRUNSWICK | Five Jacksonville residents and others from Waycross and Camden County were among 18 arrested on charges of traveling around Brunswick and North Florida intending to meet a child for sex, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a release.
Those charged range from 19 to 58 years old and include truck drivers, a defense contractor, a sailor and a commodities trader, the GBI said. The commodities trader, Kevin Kerr, is also a contributor to Fox Business news and has commented on air on the worldwide crude oil supply, YouTube videos show.
"Operation Riptide" was a five-day proactive effort by 18 law enforcement agencies centered in Glynn County intended to arrest those who used computers to communicate with boys and girls online and then traveled to meet them for sex, said GBI Special Agent Debbie Garner. Garner, the special agent in charge and commander of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, spoke Monday at a news conference in front of the Glynn County Courthouse.
Planning for Operation Riptide began in January and culminated "early, early this morning" with the last arrest in a roundup of suspects that started Thursday, Garner said. The suspects contacted investigators posing on the Internet as children who agreed to have sex with them. Some of the suspects - but not necessarily all - arrived at a residence in the Brunswick area where they had traveled to meet a child but instead were met by officers who arrested them, Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said.
"There were about 60 people working every night to pull this off," Garner said.
Glynn County is very active in investigating the exploitation of children, she said.
Garner said she met with Doering, Sheriff Neal Jump and District Attorney Jackie Johnson and all decided the investigation was something they wanted to carry out in Glynn County.
As Garner spoke, Doering, McIntosh County Sheriff Steve Jessup and Brunswick Police Chief Kevin Jones stood behind her with local investigators. Among them was Capt. Marissa Tindale, head of criminal investigations for the county police.
"[Tindale] and her team worked tirelessly, I can say," Doering said.
Jones said those who should be recognized are the officers who lost sleep night after night.
Garner also noted that the investigations typically turn up suspects of all races, social statuses and professions.
"There absolutely is no profile for this type of predator," Garner said.
It is not unusual to arrest "someone of community significance," she said.
In this case, the person of social significance may have been Kerr, who was in the area for an event, Garner said.
The Secret Service administered polygraph tests to eight of those arrested in which all admitted to the crimes, and several admitted to similar online activity in the past, the GBI said.
Some admitted previously viewing child pornography and to previous sexual contact with children, the GBI said.
All those arrested were charged in Glynn County with violating the Georgia Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act.
Jacksonville residents charged were:
¦ Christopher Oquendo Martinez, 24, construction worker;
¦ Donald Ray Sheffield, 58, truck driver;
¦ Sanjeev Hansraj Seenath, 25, pharmacy student;
¦ John Robert Schmidt, 36, food & beverage manager; and,
¦ Troy Austin Piano, 23, self employed.
Others charged from the Jacksonville area were:
¦ Michael Morrow Foley, 52, Ponte Vedra Beach, driver; and,
¦ Andrew Paul Stawniczy, 25, Orange Park, tire store employee.
Camden County residents charged were:
¦ Samuel M. Lee, 26, St. Marys, defense contractor;
¦ Andrew Chase Lowe, 19, St. Marys, landscaper;
¦ Ulbio Quijije, 26, Kingsland, self-employed; and,
¦ Joshua Adam Bullard, 19, U.S. Navy, Kings Bay.
Others arrested were:
¦ Kenneth Dwayne Baker, 24, Waynesville, Ga., heating and air conditioning worker;
¦ Rigoberto Margarito Hernandez, 21, Brunswick, construction worker;
¦ Bryant Keith Taylor, 35, Brunswick, construction worker;
¦ Armando Modesto-Sevilla, 22, Waycross, farm worker;
¦ Aaron Wayne Jacobs, 27, Waynesville, Ga., EMT/firefighter;
¦ Levar Polite, 26, Hinesville, restaurant employee and student; and,
¦ Kevin Scott Kerr, 48, St. Paul, Minn., commodities trader and news contributor.
Although centered in Brunswick, the investigation included the GBI, the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center and 18 other agencies, among them police departments in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Brunswick, Clayton County, DeKalb County, Polk County,Warner Robins and Woodstock; the Cook County, Coweta County, Glynn County, Jasper County, Liberty County and McIntosh County sheriff's departments, the Secret Service, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations and the district attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit.
Garner said it is the type of collaboration that "is invaluable in the effort to keep our children safe from predators who seek to harm them. This successful operation was a partnership between all the agencies involved."
"[The] children in our community need people to keep them safe," Doering said. "We will be their guardian angels. We will look out for them."
There are people who are using the Internet every day for unsupervised, vulnerable children to exploit, he said.
Garner advised parents to monitor all of their children's Internet accounts and social media applications to ensure adults are trying to contact them.
Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405