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2:20 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

24 men in Phoenix area arrested in child sex crime operation

Booking photos of the 24 men arrested as part of an undercover operation led by the Mesa Police Department to find child sex criminals. (Mesa Police Department)

Booking photos of the 24 men arrested as part of an undercover operation led by the Mesa Police Department to find child sex criminals. (Mesa Police Department)

MESA, Ariz. — Authorities say a multi-agency operation to crack down on child sex crimes has resulted in the arrest of 24 men in the Phoenix metro area.

Mesa police say they partnered with the Tempe, Gilbert and Chandler police departments and the Arizona Attorney General's Office as part of the recent undercover operation.

Over a six-day period, undercover detectives placed ads on websites commonly used by suspects looking to perform illegal sex acts, particularly with children.

Police say all 24 suspects solicited or made deals for various sex acts with the undercover detectives before they were arrested.

"They all begin with a communication that involves a solicitation, a type of act that’s illegal and a negotiated place for that act to occur," said Mesa Police Detective Nik Rasheta. "If someone is willing to go online, contact a stranger and negotiate an act involving a child, we don’t know what that person is doing at home in their own social sphere."

The suspects ranged in age from 21 to 80 years old.

The 24 suspects arrested are:

Murrey Sells, 25

Kenneth Palmer, 62

Bryon Wood, 40

Frank Labarbera, 55

Mark Bayuk, 26

Larry Jacobs, 60

Jordan Dunn, 34

Brian Bush, 42

Jorge Gastelum-Angulo, 35

Fernando Romero, 21

Paul Simerda, 26

Cedric Dallas, 22

Bobby Sharp, 80

Melquiades Villalobos, 54

Tony Fahrbach, 27

Brandon Oakley, 29

Andrew Prim, 61

Desmond Spearman, 60

Nathan Osborne, 34

Troy Wayne, 36

Skyler Wright, 39

Amadeo Villanueva, 35

Derek Reese, 42

Details on all 24 suspects can be found at this link on the Mesa police crime blog, mesapd.blogspot.com.

The Mesa Police Department is asking anyone with information about human trafficking to contact their local police department or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or on the web at humantraffickinghotline.org.