ARIZONA — Officials arrested five men in connection with child endangerment and a sex trafficking ring in Arizona, including a former detective.
The five arrests took place between Aug. 26, 2020, and Sept. 3, 2020. The Arizona Department of Public Safety, which led the operation called ‘Operation Home Alone 2’, said in a news release Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing and more arrests should be expected in connection with the sting.
The department said the arrests were “the culmination of a months-long proactive operation to combat child sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking in Pinal County.”
On Aug. 26, 40-year-old Daniel May was the first of the group to be arrested for allegedly luring a minor for sexual exploitation. Shortly after, 38-year-old Matthew Salley was arrested on the same charge. On Aug. 27, 26-year-old Jordan Holloway was arrested for allegedly luring a minor for sexual exploitation.
A few days later, 44-year-old Christopher Butts — a former detective with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office — was arrested for allegedly luring a minor for sexual exploitation and furnishing harmful items to a minor. Butts was previously arrested in February for the same charges, including communicating with a 13-year-old girl on a dating app, police said.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told Patch that Butts was assigned to the major crimes division from December 2012 to May 2014 and resigned in lieu of termination in May 2014.
36-year-old Ryan Kellerman was arrested on Sept. 3 and charged with aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation and furnishing harmful items to a minor. He is also suspected of involvement in a child pornography case being investigated by the Maricopa Police Department.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety had assistance from the Casa Grande Police Department and Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations in Casa Grande, the Maricopa Police Department and Criminal Investigations, and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office.
Four of the suspects were booked into the Pinal County Jail while one was taken to the Maricopa County Jail.
Sgt. Kameron Lee, a spokesperson for the department of public safety, told Patch that he hopes parents take the time to talk to their kids about the dangers of talking to strangers online.
“Parents and guardians have an absolute right and responsibility to monitor and know what their children are doing online and who they are talking to,” Lee said. “Frank conversations about the dangers of online chats, forums and social media need to be had with our youth.”