FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2014
Press Office at
AUSTIN – The Office of the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force collaborated with Texas law enforcement agencies that have affiliated with the OAG ICAC program and local and federal law enforcement authorities statewide to conduct “Operation Broken Heart” – a month-long, undercover effort that targeted offenders who used the Internet to target children.
OAG ICAC and affiliate agency officers executed more than 30 search warrants statewide and arrested 23 suspected child predators. The coordinated statewide initiative began May 1 and concentrated on arresting offenders suspected of the following offenses:
- possessing, producing or distributing child pornography;
- engaging in commercial and online solicitation of children for sexual purposes; and/or
- engaging in sex tourism – the act of traveling abroad to sexually abuse foreign children.
“The Office of the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and law enforcement agencies affiliated with the task force collaborated in May to identify, locate and arrest 23 suspected child predators,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The results of Operation Broken Heart demonstrate that cyber predators pose a constant and very real threat to young Texans’ safety and well-being. OAG ICAC officers look forward to continued collaboration with affiliate ICAC agencies and local, state and federal authorities statewide to bring sex offenders to justice.”
“Operation Broken Heart” – OAG ICAC results
OAG ICAC officers collaborated with state, local and federal law enforcement authorities during Operation Broken Heart and conducted nearly a dozen investigations statewide. The investigations stemmed from CyberTipline referrals from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children about suspected predators around the State of Texas. With law enforcement assistance from the Midland Police Department, Odessa Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service, OAG ICAC officers successfully identified, located and arrested five suspects on child pornography charges and confiscated the suspects’ computers and various devices.
The five suspects arrested by OAG ICAC officers and taken into custody were:
- Perre Alezonder Jones, 26, arrested May 8 in Midland County
- Avery Erik Rodriguez, 19, arrested May 9 in Ector County
- Matthew Lee Weidner, 29, arrested May 9 in Midland County
- Michael Martinez, 22, arrested May 22 in Williamson County
- Christopher Lara, 23, arrested May 28, in Tom Green County
The five suspects arrested by OAG ICAC officers each face charges of child pornography possession. According to OAG ICAC investigators, Lara had child pornography images saved on his mobile phone in his pocket; Jones, Rodriguez and Lara shared images of child pornography on social networking websites; and Weidner accessed and shared online videos of children being sexually assaulted.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office works closely with law enforcement authorities statewide to investigate and prosecute child sexual predators. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice designated the Attorney General’s Office as ICAC Task Force for the South Texas Region. As the home of a federally-funded ICAC Task Force, the Attorney General’s Office receives grant funding from the Justice Department for several peace officers. Child predators arrested by the Attorney General’s Office have been prosecuted in both state and federal courts.
To find out more about the Texas Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force and Attorney General Greg Abbott’s ongoing efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the agency’s website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.