SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. -- Authorities said four suspected pedophiles have been arrested after an undercover cyber operation in Spotsylvania County.
Deputies said that the suspects traveled to Spotsylvania County and planned to have sex with an underage female.
"The underage child in these cases however, turned out to be an undercover Spotsylvania Detective who was communicating with the suspect while online," said Capt. Jeffery Pearce with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials said that 21-year-old Tyler Martin of Richmond, 44-year-old John Howell of Fredericksburg, 46-year-old Toby Parker from Manassas and 55-year-old Robert Catanzaro from Fredericksburg were arrested over the past three months. Each was charged with felony counts of indecent liberties and using a communication system to facilitate certain offenses involving children.
Sheriff Roger L. Harris said that the suspects tried to set up relationships with young children online.
"The goal of these suspects is to 'Groom' the children, convincing them to meet and then perpetrate their criminal acts," Harris said.
Harris credited the sheriff’s office's Internet Crimes Against Children unit for the arrest of several suspects during last three years.