Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha announced Thursday the arrest of three Kerrville men and two men from San Antonio suspected of seeking to meet children online to arrange for sexual encounters.
“This operation represents a new era in confronting those who victimize children in our area,” Leitha said in a Facebook post. “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.”
The arrests were made on Wednesday after a lengthy investigation where deputies posed as underaged children.
- Joseph James Valles, 52, of Kerrville, for Prostitution (Person Under 18). Valles is being held on a $50,000 bond and has a prior conviction for capital murder.
- Adrian Steven Rodriguez, 31, of Kerrville, for online solicitation of a minor / Sexual Contact. Rodriguez is being held on a $50,000 bond.
- Cody Garrett Bowen, 22, of Kerrville, for online solicitation of a minor/sexual Contact. Bowen is being held on a $50,000 bond;
- Cesar Alvarez, 48, of San Antonio, for online solicitation of prostitution. Alvarez is being held without bond;
- Jorge Pichardo, 42, of San Antonio, for online solicitation of a minor/sexual contact and resisting arrest. Pichardo is being held without bond.
Leitha said the sheriff's office worked with the 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.
“The KCSO team, working closely with other jurisdictions, will spare no effort to protect the children of Kerr County," Leitha said. "We appreciate the strong support of our local and state colleagues. They did a great job in making this operation a success.”
Leitha said they are still investigating and searching for additional victims.
“The arrest of a single subject can prevent the victimization of dozens of underage people," Leitha said. "We are actively seeking additional information about other victims for further law enforcement action."