‘Operation Keiki Shield’ nets 13 accused child predators

A multi-agency task force aimed at tracking down child predators arrested 13 men over the weekend.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 2:22 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 4:21 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A multi-agency task force aimed at tracking down child predators arrested 13 men on O’ahu over the weekend on charges of commercial exploitation of a minor or first-degree electronic enticement of a child.

The latest crackdown by “Operation Keiki Shield” was announced Wednesday.

Honolulu Police Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan said the suspects range in age from 22 to 61 and all have local addresses.

Of the 13, four are in the military.

“This week’s arrests confirm what we in law enforcement know too well,” Logan said. “That there are many individuals who will seek out and prey on the most vulnerable in our community.”

Officials say investigators pretend to be children on social media and dating apps where the13 men allegedly asked for inappropriate pictures and requested meet ups not knowing they were talking to investigators.

Edward Arias, Commander of the Hawaii Internet Crime Against Children Task Force, said most frequent targets for child predators are kids between ages of 12 and 15.

“I want to put the fear of God into them.” he said. “When you’re online and you think you’re talking to a child, you’re probably talking to one of us.”

Diamond Badajos has an 8-year-old daughter and says the latest arrests are just one reason why she doesn’t allow her on social media.

“She could be telling people her name her age, where she lives....but she doesn’t know truly who she’s interaction with on the other side of the screen,” said Badajos.

Logan said members of the task force come from multiple departments, including Hawaii police departments, Homeland Security Investigations and military law enforcement agencies.

The most recent sting is in addition to more than 80 arrests already made since “Operation Keiki Shield” was formed in 2019.