Over the course of eight months, ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit made 13 arrests for child luring offences.

“This initiative specifically targeted suspects who were allegedly trying to arrange for sex with children online,” says Staff Sgt. Stephen Camp of ALERT’s ICE unit.

Investigators say the alleged crimes took place online, on several different social media platforms and targeted children between the ages of 10 and 16. Nearly 50 computers and electronic devices were seized during the investigations, and a total of 69 charges laid.

The arrests took place between February and October in Edmonton, St. Albert, Wainwright, Drayton Valley, Fort Saskatchewan and Barrie Ontario.

“This should be quite startling and disturbing to the people in these communities where the suspects were arrested,” says Staff Sgt. Camp. “I want to provide some assurance to the communities that we discovered no instances of children being physically harmed or exploited.”  Staff Sgt. Camp believes the arrests prevented that from happening.

Investigators say an additional three suspects from the United States were identified and that information has been forwarded to police agencies there.

“We have to, as a community, a global community, understand there’s pedophiles out there and everywhere. And there’s a significant amount of them,” he added. “We can literally go online right now and be in connection with people trying to lure children into sexual contact.”

Police say parents and guardians need to use common sense when it comes to a child’s social media use. “Monitoring your children’s behaviour online and locking down certain areas they can go to I think is really important.”

All 13 suspects have been charged with child luring and/or attempted sexual assault against a child.

The following people have been charged:

  • John Leskosky, 42, Wainright, 3 charges
  • Adam Turner, 24, Edmonton, 5 charges
  • Steve Chaytor, 51, Edmonton, 5 charges
  • Jonas Karadics, 32, Edmonton, 3 charges
  • Wilson Misay, 38, Drayton Valley, 6 charges
  • Jonathan Dahmer, 31, Edmonton, 8 charges
  • Timothy Olsen, 37, St. Albert, 5 charges
  • Ryan Wiggins, 44, Edmonton, 3 charges
  • Dean Baker, 51, Edmonton, 4 charges
  • Taille Marron, 37, Edmonton, 16 charges
  • Yousef Ammar, 42, Drayton Valley, 4 charges
  • Travis Irwin, 29, Barrie, Ont., 4 charges

Police say none of the investigations or arrests are connected.