County of Los Angeles – When the Special Enforcement Officers (SEO) set out in the pre-dawn hours of Halloween, they were looking to see if 66 of the Department’s highest risk child predators were in compliance with their court orders ranging from no child pornography on their phones or computers, to no candy or costumes in their homes used to entice children on a day famous for temptation. Deputy Probation Officers (DPOs) found much more than that on Halloween morning.
In a Pomona home, the SEO team entered to find a 32-year old sex offender in bed with a 10-year old girl. According to the County of L.A. Probation Department, the probationer and another adult male were arrested at the scene, as was the mother of the girl. The child was taken into protective custody by the Department of Children and Family Services. The SEO team also confiscated a methamphetamine pipe and marijuana. The contraband was taken to the Pomona Police Department for processing.
Another team – this time in Santa Clarita – arrested a 22-year old sex offender who was residing with his mother. The SEO team learned that the mother runs what appeared to be a child daycare service out of her home. A female tenant who also lived in the residence with her infant son and 9-year old daughter told SEO she had no idea the man was a convicted sex offender.
“Operation Safe Halloween is about ensuring probationers are in compliance with the law, but at its core, the Operation is about protecting children and we were able to accomplish that mission today,” said Assistant Chief Margarita Perez.
60 L.A. County SEOs deployed at 5 a.m. from eight staging areas Countywide, with a pre-dawn strategy to check on child sex offenders at a time when offenders least expect to be visited by law enforcement.
In total, five sex offenders were arrested and taken into custody, along with five computers, 13 USB sticks and memory cards, three computer towers, and drugs/drug paraphernalia were confiscated. The Department of Children and Family Services took one 10-year old girl into protective custody and is investigating the status of two other children involved in a home where a sex offender resided.
“Today is a perfect example of the value of going into the communities, into the homes of probationers to see who they are living with, what is their environment, and what is the real story of their compliance with the orders of the court,” says Special Enforcement Director, Eric Newby.
This is the third year L.A. County Probation has conducted Operation Safe Halloween.