Police catch 11 sexual predators by pretending to be minors

Men arrested for trying to have sex with a minor in “To Catch A Predator” style sting operation last week

The Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – Nearly a dozen men were arrested for trying to have sex with a minor during a “To Catch a Predator” style sting operation last week. 

On Dec. 20-21, detectives with the Special Victims Unit conducted an undercover operation at a home in Tulare County. During the two-day operation, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office detectives and the Visalia Police Department pretended to be a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy as they communicated with nearly 50 men wanting to meet up and have sex with the fictitious minors. Eleven men were arrested as they entered the house, thinking they were meeting with a minor. 

Those arrested were: Knute Mynderup, 45, of Hanford; Jonathan Molina, 21, of Visalia; Joseph Maldonado, 19, of Visalia; Andres Terrazas, 24, of Visalia; Alexander Ortega, 20, of Tulare; Michael Nilo, 25, of Visalia; David Ramos, 35, of Lemon Cove; Danny Balang, 26, of Visalia; Daniel Canales, 18, of Visalia; Nelson Guiza-Rangel, 26, of Visalia; and Edwin Delamora Guzman, 43, of Visalia. All suspects were later booked at the Tulare County Adult Pre-Trial Facility for contacting a minor with the intent to commit a felony and attempting to meet a minor with the intent to engage in sexual conduct.

The arrests wrapped up a three-month investigation targeting online sexual predators. During “Operation Safeguard”, detectives created fake accounts on social media platforms and numerous men sent explicit pictures to the accounts and tried to solicit them.

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux used the operation as a reminder to the public that he has a zero tolerance policy for those that prey upon our children. “If you are caught doing so, whether it’s in person or behind a computer screen, you will face the consequences,” Sheriff Boudreaux said. “Thank you to all of the law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly to put these predators behind bars.”

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