(KRON) — Seven men were arrested during a sting operation launched by the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children task force last week.

“Operation Spring Cleaning” was a sting “targeting adults who were seeking to meet minors for sex,” the Brentwood Police Department wrote. The primary goal of the sting was to identify, find, and help children who had been victimized by sexual predators.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office wrote, “As a part of Operation Spring Cleaning, task force partners conducted undercover chats with adults seeking to meet minors in late May and early June.”

The seven arrested men were identified by police as:

  • Nhouel Dulay, 29, of Oakley
  • Michael Patterson, 42, of Brentwood
  • Jeffrey Pallesen, 43, of Stockton
  • Carlos Vera, 25, of Brentwood
  • Edward Stinson, 21, of Merced
  • Robert Stearns, 54, of San Ramon
  • Randall Alston, 29, of Berkeley

All seven suspects remain in custody this week pending preliminary hearings.

Fifteen law enforcement agencies participated in “Operation Spring Cleaning” and executed eight search warrants. Brentwood police wrote, “Our agency remains committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our community and would like to thank all of the participating agencies for their contributions last week in combatting child exploitation.”

A men arrested in the sting operation is lead away in handcuffs. (Image courtesy Brentwood Police Department)

While searching the suspects’ homes, the ICAC Task Force seized 40 illegal firearms, 39 electronic devices, and five vehicles.

(BPD photo)
(BPD photo)

The seven suspects were arrested on one or more of the following offenses: Lewd or lascivious acts involving children under 14-years-old, or communicating with a minor to meet for sexual acts.

The ICAC program helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and internet crimes against children. The program includes forensic and investigative services, training, technical assistance, victim services, and community education.

District Attorney Diana Becton said, “ICAC’s mission and dedication of keeping children in our communities safe has been tremendously effective.”

Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about online safety and can visit the
website kidsmartz.org for more information.

ICAC Task Force Members:

• Brentwood Police Department
• Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office
• Concord Police Department
• Federal Bureau of Investigation
• Homeland Security Investigations
• Pittsburg Police Department
• Danville Police Department
• United States Secret Service
• Contra Costa Safe Streets
• Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office
• Walnut Creek Police Department
• San Ramon Police Department
• Oakley Police Department
• Richmond Police Department