17 people arrested in child predator sting operation in Turlock

(FOX40.COM) — Seventeen people were arrested in an operation that focused on catching predators of children for the purpose of sexual activity, according to the Turlock Police Department.

On Jan. 5-6, the Turlock Police Department said it set up an online chat operation to catch predators who were attempting to meet up with children for sex.

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“This operation was complex in nature and involved the coordinated effort of multiple agencies and various police department units,” Turlock PD said.

With the support of the Sacramento Valley Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office Special Victim’s Unit (SVU), State Parole, and Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit (SVU), police said they arrested 17 people on several felony sex-related charges.

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Twelve of the arrestees were local, and the remaining five were out-of-county residents, according to Turlock PD. All arrestees were booked into the Stanislaus County Jail with the majority being held on a $500,000 bail.

“This operation was the culmination of months of planning by the Turlock Police Department and cooperating agencies,” said Turlock PD Chief Jason Hedden. “I am proud of Detective Gina Giovacchini and our team for their efforts to intercept those looking to harm children in our community.”

Giovacchini, who police said orchestrated and led the operation, added, “Thank you to our partnering agencies who took part in this operation. Without their collaborative efforts, this operation wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it was. Their assistance helped keep our youth safe.”

She continued, “Keeping our children safe from predators will continue to be my number one priority.”

The Turlock Police Department advised anyone with information to call Giovacchini at (209) 668-6539, the tip line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780, or email at tpdtipline@turlock.ca.us.

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