Flash Flood Watch
until MON 12:00 AM MST, Northwest Plateau, Lake Havasu and Fort Mohave, Northwest Deserts, Grand Canyon Country, Coconino Plateau, Yavapai County Mountains, Little Colorado River Valley in Coconino County, Little Colorado River Valley in Navajo County, Little Colorado River Valley in Apache County, Western Mogollon Rim, Eastern Mogollon Rim, White Mountains, Northern Gila County, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Yavapai County Valleys and Basins, Oak Creek and Sycamore Canyons, Western Pima County including Ajo/Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tohono O'odham Nation including Sells, Upper Santa Cruz River and Altar Valleys including Nogales, Tucson Metro Area including Tucson/Green Valley/Marana/Vail, South Central Pinal County including Eloy/Picacho Peak State Park, Southeast Pinal County including Kearny/Mammoth/Oracle, Upper San Pedro River Valley including Sierra Vista/Benson, Eastern Cochise County below 5000 ft including Douglas/Wilcox, Upper Gila River and Aravaipa Valleys including Clifton/Safford, White Mountains of Graham and Greenlee Counties including Hannagan Meadow, Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains including Mount Graham, Chiricahua Mountains including Chiricahua National Monument, Dragoon/Mule/Huachuca and Santa Rita Mountains including Bisbee/Canelo Hills/Madera Canyon, Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains including Mount Lemmon/Summerhaven, Baboquivari Mountains including Kitt Peak, Aguila Valley, Northwest Valley, Tonopah Desert, Gila Bend, Buckeye/Avondale, Cave Creek/New River, Deer Valley, Central Phoenix, North Phoenix/Glendale, New River Mesa, Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, Rio Verde/Salt River, East Valley, Fountain Hills/East Mesa, South Mountain/Ahwatukee, Southeast Valley/Queen Creek, Superior, Northwest Pinal County, West Pinal County, Apache Junction/Gold Canyon, Tonto Basin, Mazatzal Mountains, Pinal/Superstition Mountains, Sonoran Desert Natl Monument, San Carlos, Dripping Springs, Globe/Miami, Southeast Gila County

'Operation Silent Predator': 27 arrested in connection to child sex crimes investigation

Police say 27 people were arrested in connection to an undercover operation targeting child sex crimes and human trafficking in the Valley.

Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, and the Chandler Police Departments partnered with Homeland Security and the Arizona Attorney General's Office for "Operation Silent Predator," where undercover police officers arranged sex acts with people whom the suspects believed to be 14-years-old or younger.

"They were using social media to silently enter in our homes, our children's bedrooms," said Phoenix City Councilmember Michael Nowakowski.

As a result of the operation, 27 people, ranging in ages 21 to 69, were arrested. The suspects have been identified as Samuel Puma, 69, Patrick Mai, 65, Walter Lundy, 59, Franklin Omori, 57, Roy Vasquez, 55, Daryl McCraw, 53, Hector Pano, 48, Juan Flores, 40, Andrew Kasmar, 37, Richard Gonzalez, 37, Colten Jourdain, 35, Edward Mendoza, 33, Agustin Ibanez, 32, Kristopher Broom, 31, Ezra Reynolds, 31, Fabian Hernandez, 30, Jose Sandoval, 30, Bryan Carr, 30, Lawrence Ruiz, 29, Tommy Diaz, 28, Kevin Evangelista, 26, Dovonta Owens, 25, Nicholas Benhart, 23, Jesus Mendoza, 23, Terrick Ebron, 22, and Isaac Arce, 21.

Police say they had undercover agents online putting out ads in places the suspects frequented. Many were arrested while thinking they were meeting up with a boy or girl under the age of 15.

"It’s like fishing. You put the bait out the fish will come," said Phoenix Police Commander Jim Gallagher.

The arrests were made shortly before a news conference on the operation began. Meanwhile, people living close to those arrested say they are shocked to hear about the arrests.

"it's frightening and disgusting. It's just not tolerable," said Kim Campbell.

Police say these types of operations go on all year, but they need parents to step in and educate when they can’t.

"There are people in our social media world who will hurt us or hurt our children if we don't do the responsible thing, so our children are counting on us to protect them," said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.