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Posted on: February 9, 2024

Local, State, and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Arrest Several Individuals Accused of Soliciting

Operation Winter Guardian

Gastonia, NC – A joint press conference was held Friday, February 9, 2024, on the arrest of 16 individuals across the state accused of soliciting, sexually exploiting, or abusing children. The arrests are part of Operation Winter Guardian which included 44 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together as part of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (NCICAC).

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is a nationally coordinated effort of 61 regional task forces dedicated to investigating, prosecuting, and effectively responding to internet crimes against children. In North Carolina, the NC State Bureau of Investigation’s Computer Crimes Unit leads the NCICAC Task Force, consisting of more than 250 agencies across the state.

Operation Winter Guardian was a two-part initiative by the NCICAC in January, primarily during the week of January 8th – 12th. One phase of the operation consisted of law enforcement investigators acting in an undercover capacity online and participating in chats with individuals seeking to meet juveniles for sexual activity. Some of those individuals then traveled to a location in Gaston County to meet the person they believed to be a child to engage in those sex acts. The second phase of the operation involved investigators executing search warrants at several locations throughout the state that were identified as distribution points where child sexual exploitation images were shared.

“In a time when we are seeing a record number of CyberTip reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, it is imperative that we continue to conduct proactive investigations like these,” said Kevin Roughton, NCICAC Commander and SBI Special Agent in Charge. “The cases in this operation had not been reported to anyone. Without the joint effort of our local and federal partner agencies, these offenders could still be engaging in the same criminal acts today; but even more importantly, the children who were safeguarded would likely continue to be victimized again and again without anyone knowing and no one coming to help them.”

“Protecting the children of our community is my highest priority," Gaston County Police Chief Stephen Zill said. "I take immense pride in the tireless work of our detectives and the collaborative partnerships developed with local police, county, state, and federal agencies to pursue individuals who seek to take advantage of our children."

“We are very grateful to have partnered with our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in Operation Winter Guardian, and the people of our community should be encouraged by the interagency cooperation necessary to successfully complete this Operation,” Gaston County District Attorney Travis Page said. “The District Attorney’s Office is firmly committed to holding all sexual predators accountable and will work tirelessly with our law enforcement to make our community a safer place to live.”

“People who prey on the vulnerability of children should expect to be held accountable for their actions and operations like this underscore our commitment to ensuring that happens,” said Kyle Burns, Acting Special Agent in Charge for HSI Charlotte, which covers North and South Carolina. “Protecting children from predators that seek to exploit them is one of the most important missions for HSI and we are fully committed to working with our law enforcement partners to identify, investigate and prosecute those involved in this heinous crime.”

Through these investigations, at least five children were identified and safeguarded from ongoing sexual abuse. The following individuals have been arrested: 

Gabriel John Yager, Apex, NC (DOB 7/25/2000)
2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (seven counts)

Hunter Ray Fesperman, Hertford, NC (DOB 10/23/2002)
2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (four counts)

Larry Ray Haskins, Lenoir, NC (DOB 3/12/1989)
2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (one count)

Jubonte Stevenson, New Bern, NC (DOB 10/7/1987)
1st degree statutory sex offense (one count)

Jonathan Paul Swiney, Asheboro, NC (DOB 2/15/1980)
2nd degree child sexual exploitation of a minor (one count)

Scott Thomas Wallace, Wilmington, NC (DOB 2/8/1970)
3rd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (three counts)

Johnathan Cody McCall, Swansboro (DOB 4/8/1987)
2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (10 counts)
3rd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (10 counts)

Jamie Tucker, Louisburg, NC (3/28/1983)
2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (six counts)
Secret peeping (two counts)
Manufacture schedule VI (one count)
PWISD marijuana (one count)
Maintaining/Vehicle/Dwelling/Place (one count)

Nicholas Tyler Banks, Burnsville, NC (DOB 4/3/2001)
2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (one count)
Failure to inform of new online identifier (one count)
3rd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (one count)

Darryl Edwin Foley, Garner, NC (DOB 3/25/89)
1st degree sexual exploitation of a minor (7 counts)
2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (10 counts)
Statutory sex offense with a child by an adult (3 counts)
1st degree statutory rape (2 counts)

Carmen Delia Foley, Garner, NC (DOB 7/12/1992)
1st degree sexual exploitation of a minor (13 counts)
Statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult (2 counts)
Aid and Abetting 1st degree statutory rape (2 counts)

Lance Skipper, Zebulon, NC (DOB 1/16/1984)
2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (one count)

Barry Glenn Swinson, Randleman, NC (DOB 6/3/1949)
Indecent liberties (one count)
Solicitation of a child by computer for sex act (one count)
Barry Swinson

David Anthony Roux, Charlotte, NC (DOB 10/7/1988)
Indecent liberties (one count)
David Roux

Neal David Wilfong, Cleveland, NC (DOB 4/24/1945) 
Indecent liberties (two counts)
Neal Wilfong

Zachary Dean Williams, Wadesboro, NC (DOB 10/27/1996)
Indecent liberties (one count)
Solicitation of a child by computer for sex act (one count)
Zachary Williams

David Charles Oswald was arrested recently in Montgomery County (PA) as a result of this operation and is charged with 50 counts of possession of child pornography.
David Charles Oswald

We appreciate all of the law enforcement agencies that assisted with Operation Winter Guardian: Gaston County Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, US Marshals Service, US Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Apex Police Department, Bessemer City Police Department, Boone Police Department, Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, Carteret County Sheriff's Office, Cary Police Department, Catawba County Sheriff's Office, Chatham County Sheriff's Office, Cherryville Police Department, Cramerton Police Department, Craven County Sheriff's Office, Dallas Police Department, Davidson Police Department, Davie County Sheriff's Office, Fayetteville Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Garner Police Department, Guilford County Sheriff's Office, Hertford County Sheriff's Office, Holly Springs Police Department, Knightdale Police Department, Liberty Police Department, Lowell Police Department, Matthews Police Department, Moore County Sheriff's Office, Nash County Sheriff's Office, New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, Pinehurst Police Department, Raleigh Police Department, Randolph County Sheriff's Office, Salisbury Police Department, Wake Forest Police Department, Warren County Sheriff's Office, Watauga County Sheriff's Office, Waynesville Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff's Office, Winston-Salem Police Department, Zebulon Police Department and the NC State Bureau of Investigation.

 

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