WOODBINE, Ga. – A Naval officer who was one of nine men indicted last summer in a child sex trafficking bust in Georgia was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison.
Charles Barreras, 49, of Kingsland, pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and enticement and was sentenced to 62 months in federal prison.
He will be required to register as a sex offender and serve 10 years of supervised release after his prison term.
The federal system has no parole.
The sting, dubbed Operation Do You Know Your Neighbor?, was coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Barreras is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy stationed at Submarine Base Kings Bay in Kingsland.
“As predators attempt to use cyberspace to contact children for evil intentions, our law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in identifying and stopping pedophiles like Barreras,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “Any adult who intends to contact children for illicit purposes should live in fear that their crimes will be uncovered – and like Barreras, they will go to prison.”
Three of the remaining defendants in the operation have been sentenced to federal prison, while others await sentencing after entering guilty pleas, or are awaiting trial.
“The sentences that continue to be handed down as a result of this successful multiagency operation should serve as a stern warning for sexual predators who target children where Department of the Navy personnel live and work,” said NCIS Southeast Field Office Special Agent in Charge Tom Cannizzo. “NCIS and our state and local partners are dedicated to working together to keep our communities safe for children.”
The sting was set up by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the GBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for the purpose of identifying adults who were seeking out children for indecent purposes. Other agencies participating in the investigation included the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, the Kingsland Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Savannah Police Department.
“This sentence demonstrates that no matter who you are, even a ranking official in the armed forces, you will be held accountable for preying on children,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds. “We value our law enforcement partnerships to be able to work together in these type operations to catch the criminals who seek to harm one of our most vulnerable populations.”