Nine arrested in child porn investigation

Officials say sting across south La.

Nine men have been arrested and booked on child pornography and similar counts after an undercover operation targeting suspected child pornography possessors, state officials said Wednesday.

The men, who live in parishes across south Louisiana, appeared to have been acting individually and not as part of a larger operation, said David Ferris, section chief of the Louisiana Attorney General’s High Tech Crime Unit.

Authorities executed 12 warrants between Saturday and Tuesday during an investigation called “Operation Blackjack,” Ferris said at a news conference.

Three other people are still being investigated, and additional arrests may be possible, he said.

Of the 145 counts in the arrests thus far, 113 were for pornography involving juveniles, 24 were for distributing pornography involving juveniles, and five were for producing pornography involving juveniles, according to an Attorney General’s Office news release.

Agents with the Louisiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force coordinated the effort among local, state and federal investigators, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said at the news conference.

“This has been an unbelievable cooperative agreement between federal, state and local prosecutors to do what I call ‘God’s work’ in getting rid of sexual predators and people that prey on our children,” Caldwell said.

The men booked and the counts against them:

  • John Andrew Becnel, 22, 42391 La. 621, Gonzales, booked into Ascension Parish Prison on 20 counts of pornography involving juveniles.
  • Bradley Bourque, 32, 13535 Devall Road, Baton Rouge, booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 25 counts of pornography involving juveniles.
  • Robert Hawes, 58, 615 W. Napoleon St., Sulphur, booked into Calcasieu Parish Prison on 16 counts of pornography involving juveniles.
  • Tony J. Latiolais, 46, 1119 Clifton Angelle, Breaux Bridge, booked into St. Martin Parish Prison on one count each of indecent behavior with a juvenile and computer-aided solicitation of a minor.
  • Chad Sonnier, 32, 853 E. Venable St., Church Point, booked into Acadia Parish Prison on a count of pornography involving juveniles.
  • Jude Stelly, 29, 1094 Mustang Circle, St. Martinville, booked into St. Martin Parish Prison on 10 counts of possessing pornography involving juveniles and 10 counts of distributing pornography involving juveniles.
  • Joshua Villa, 33, 101 Janin Road, Broussard, booked into Lafayette Prison on an aggravated sex crime count; 20 counts of possessing pornography involving juveniles; nine counts of distributing pornography involving juveniles; and five counts of producing pornography involving juveniles.
  • Michael Wesley, 57, 22945 Jade Drive, Plaquemine, booked into Iberville Parish Prison on 11 counts of pornography involving juveniles.
  • Lucas Wimberly, 27, 648 Arsene Lebleu Road, Lake Charles, booked into Calcasieu Parish Prison on 10 counts of possession of pornography involving juveniles and five counts of distributing pornography involving juveniles.