A second suspect was arrested Friday in a highly publicized child predator sting. Suspect Lance Fries was taken into custody in Arizona as part of Operation Sunflower. NBC 7's Tony Shin reports.
A second suspect was arrested in Arizona Friday night in connection with a widely publicized child sex-abuse sting.
According to ICE and Homeland Security Investigation agents, suspect Lance Fries, 43, of Tucson, Ariz., was arrested without incident Friday afternoon.
Fries could face federal charges in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a young boy and the production of child pornography in a case that originated out of Portland, Ore. He’s expected in federal court on Monday, according to ICE officials.
Fries’ arrest comes on the heels of the arrest of another suspect allegedly connected to a separate child porn and sexual assault case that happened in 11 years ago in Los Angeles.
Letha Montemayor, 52, was taken into custody Thursday night in the San Fernando Valley. She was previously dubbed "Jane Doe" by investigators who believe she was involved in the repeated sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl. The assault was filmed and photographs depicting the abuse were "widely distributed online," according to ICE agents.
Both arrests were made less than 24 hours after federal authorities made a national announcement to the public for leads in three unsolved child pornography cases.
The cases are part of “Operation Sunflower,” a massive child predator sweep launched by the HSI two months ago directed at seeking justice for child abuse victims. On Thursday, the HSI released photographs of the suspects wanted in these particular cases.
Operation Sunflower has resulted in nearly 250 arrests of suspects in the U.S. and abroad, ICE agents said.
With these latest arrests under their belts, ICE agents are crediting the power of the public.
"This is truly a remarkable turn of events and it again demonstrates the collective power that can be brought to bear when law enforcement and the public team up to combat the sexual exploitation of children," said ICE Director John Morton. "Those who produce and trade child pornography over the Internet believe they're protected by the anonymity of cyberspace. Through our collective efforts, we're proving these predators wrong and gaining justice for their innocent victims."