NEWBURGH HEIGHTS - Twenty-two men were arrested following an undercover operation targeting internet crimes against children last month.
Officials from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), Homeland Security and Newburgh Heights police announced the indictments in a news conference Wednesday.
The four-day undercover operation took place between May 29 and June 1 in Newburgh Heights, and Police Chief John Majoy said his department collaborated with ICAC beginning in Fall of 2017 to set up a sting house.
Undercover officers pretending to be minors aged 12 to 15 on various apps and social media sites talked with the predators. The offenders then traveled to the undercover address believing they would be having sex with a minor. The operation took eight to ten months of planning.
During the operation, authorities arrested offenders at a rate of one per every hour and 45 minutes. Two offenders arrived within 10 minutes of each other.
All 22 offenders have previous sex offense charges ranging from attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor to attempted rape. Three of those arrested were already registered sex offenders.
Photo courtesy of WKYC Cleveland
Ohio ICAC Commander David Frattare said it was the largest sex sting targeting internet crimes against minors in the state of Ohio.
The 22 who have been indicted are:
● Philip Oliveira, 26, Cleveland, OH
● Nanda Poudel, 27, Parma Heights, OH
● Gary Koepke, 65, Cleveland, OH
● Shawn Reinke, 27, Medina, OH
● Khaled Morra, 22, Wadsworth, OH
● Anthony Loignon, 49, Richardson, TX
● Brandon Gardner, 34, Vermilion, OH
● William Browning Jr., 45, West Salem, OH
● Joseph Pullella, 51, Akron, OH
● Yun Cao, 20, Hudson, OH
● Jacob Chonko, 19, Cleveland, OH
● Hemang Bhanushali, 32, Northfield, OH
● Scott Turner, 48, Cleveland, OH
● Gregory Echelberry, 37, Massillon, OH
● David Dinard, 29, Cleveland, OH
● Zachary Albert, 24, North Canton, OH
● Ronald Richardson, 31, Cleveland, OH
● Jackson Studzinski, 23, Oberlin, OH
● Jose Rovelo, 50, Cleveland, OH
● Matthew Palmer, 42, Navarre, OH
● Jack Grodel, 25, Cleveland
● Nicholas Allen Robinson, 40, Cleveland