Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced the arrest of nine suspected child predators following a joint sting operation between the Attorney General’s Child Exploitation Unit and the Copperas Cove Police Department. This effort was the Office of the Attorney General’s most successful joint operation-to-date targeting child predators.

“Today, we can say the nine individuals who have been arrested no longer pose a threat to the children of Texas,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Unfortunately, today the dangers of the world can infiltrate any home via computers, tablets, or even a phone. I am grateful for the individuals working in our Child Exploitation Unit and the dedicated law enforcement officials they work with to bring individuals like these to justice.”

The Attorney General’s Office initiated a sting operation operating from the Copperas Cove Police Department targeting child predators who utilize the Internet to sexually solicit and then travel with the intent of committing sex crimes against a minor.

The following individuals were arrested for Online Solicitation of a Minor-Sexual Conduct.   

  • Justin Logan Perez, 21, of Harker Hights;
  • Jesus Antonio Aboytes-Mendoza, 27, of McGregor;
  • Joseph Allen Hosler, 26, of Killeen;
  • Steven Lee Merrill, 37, of Harker Heights;
  • Steven Anthony Blankenship, 26, of Killeen;
  • Matthew John McVaney, 21, of Copperas Cove;
  • Jason Lee Smith, 34, of Troy;
  • Martin Kenneth Edwards Jr., 21, of Fort Hood;
  • Robert Thomas Duven, 51, of Killeen

Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by taking child predators off the Internet and into jail, proactively seeking out and arresting predators who commit crimes against children using technology and the Internet. They utilize the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators on the Internet.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton urges all parents and teachers to realize the risks our children face online, and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety. For more information on cyber safety, please visit: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cj/cyber-safety.