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This Super Bowl Sunday, a child sex sting operation came to an end. Only Thomas Cheung of Hi-Rez studios has been brought into prison out of the 21 individuals detained. Thomas Cheung formerly worked for CCP Games on EVE Online and had contracts with famous gaming businesses such as NZXT, who said they are not connected with him and denounced his conduct, and Steelseries, which said he is no longer associated with the brand but has yet to issue a comment. (See below for a list of tweets.)

This is a disgrace to the gaming community, for which he has worked hard and worn numerous hats in recent years. While just a suspect at this time, the accusations are extremely serious.

(Editor’s Note) As someone who is stationed in Georgia, this strikes close to home. Game Truth’s parent business, Dot Matrix Media, strongly opposes this conduct and is surprised and horrified that such behavior can exist in our or any community. We appreciate the job that law enforcement performs and trust that our judicial system will handle this appropriately and equitably.

Elvinelol / Thomas Cheung has been freed from prison. Hi-Rez, we’ve got a statement from CCP Games, the creators of EVE Online, from a former employer (presumably a contractor). The following are some statements. There is no indication that any business connected with or sponsoring Elvinelol is involved in Thomas Cheung’s conduct or activities.

Hi-Rez Studios’ current CEO is HiRezStew.

Thomas Cheung was a client of ours for two years, and his contract ended in September 2017. This conduct is incompatible with all we stand for and is not tolerated. We hold all of our partners to high standards, and we hope that our legal system will follow suit.

February 5, 2019 — NZXT (@NZXT) NZXT, you’ve done a fantastic job. This gives me a nice and fuzzy feeling on the inside.

Thomas Cheung / Elvinelol is no longer supported or sponsored by SteelSeries.

February 5, 2019 — SteelSeries (@SteelSeries) They are no longer supporting or sponsoring, but this is all they have to say at the time of publication.

The news about Thomas Cheung, who worked with us as a VR Community contractor from January to November 2017, has surprised and horrified us at CCP Games. We find this behavior absolutely repulsive and are relieved that the authorities have responded appropriately.

February 5, 2019 — CCP Games (@CCPGames) CCP’s Statement

A task team of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation recently stated that 21 people had been arrested in connection with a group that allegedly planned to have sex with a child. Those detained vary in age from 20 to 55, and include health care executives and a grocery store worker.

On Twitter, there have been a slew of reactions to Cheung’s arrest in this case. Take a look at the video below.

The months-long investigation, dubbed “Operation Interception,” aimed to “arrest those who connect with minors on the internet, have sexually explicit chats with them, and then travel to see them for the intention of having sex.”

“Those detained had sexually explicit communications with someone they thought to be a kid, and the majority of those arrested went to meet a child for sex,” according to a press statement.

Thomas Cheung, who was detained as part of the sting operation, works as a community expert at Hi-Rez Studios in Alpharetta, Georgia. Cheung is a Twitch broadcaster who has gained online fame under the moniker “Elvine, the gold producing wizard.” The complete list of suspects arrested as a result of the sting operation may be seen below. It’s essential to keep in mind that these people are just suspects and are presumed innocent unless proved guilty.

  • Nicholas Alexander Bowen, a 29-year-old ride-sharing and delivery driver from Chamblee, Georgia, is a B/M.  
  • Thomas Cheung, A/M, Alpharetta, GA, 32, employee at a game company 
  • Jeshua Elijah Collins, a 22-year-old deli worker from Suwannee, Georgia, is a B/M. 
  • James Tunde Fadeyi, 55, of Lithonia, Georgia, is now jobless. 
  • Walter Gonzalez-Amaya, a 22-year-old maintenance worker from Norcross, Georgia, 
  • Larry Allen Gordon, a 31-year-old fast food restaurant employee from Hampton, Georgia, is a B/M. 
  • Zachary Tye Gourdine, a crane operator from Conley, Georgia, is 28 years old. 
  • Dylan Michael Graham, a 27-year-old elevator technician from Silver Creek, Georgia, is a W/M. 
  • Richard Jason Hyder, W/M, 41, asphalt grinding contractor, Elizabethton, TN 
  • Mitchell Allen Kennedy, W/M, Brooklyn, NY, 24, is a creative assistant at a software firm.  
  • Raheem Lalani, a 26-year-old man from Birmingham, Alabama, is jobless. 
  • Paving technician Marco A. Mendoza-Escalante, H/M, Riverdale, GA, 20 
  • Darwin Menjivar-Fernandez, 22, restaurant server, Powder Springs, GA 
  • Juan Valencia-Patino, a 22-year-old student from Jesup, Georgia, is a H/M. 
  • Juan Manuel Sanchez, 25, automotive mechanic, H/M, Woodstock, GA 
  • Junior Cornelius Timoteus, H/M, 25, restaurant server, Atlanta, GA 
  • Oscar Ramirez, H/M, 39, construction worker, Atlanta, GA 
  • Dylan Golding Whynot, W/M, 32, behavioral health case manager, Kennesaw, GA 
  • Kyle A. Williams, 32, warehouse employee, Stone Mountain, GA 
  • Robert Tyler Wilson, a 31-year-old automotive repair technician from Canton, Georgia, is a B/M. 
  • Tarno M. Walters, a 22-year-old grocery store clerk from Lawrenceville, Georgia, is a B/M. 

The entire release statement from the GBI may be read below.

(February 4, 2019) – Brookhaven, Georgia – The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit, the Brookhaven Police Department, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force collaborated on a proactive undercover investigation that resulted in the arrest of 21 people. O.C.G.A. 16-12-100.2, Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007, and/or O.C.G.A. 16-5-46, Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude, were filed against those detained. It’s possible that further charges and arrests may be made.

Brookhaven, DeKalb County, Georgia was the focal point of “Operation Interception.” The operation was meticulously planned over many months. The majority of the arrestees, who range in age from 20 to 55, came from different parts of Atlanta with the intention of meeting a kid for sex. Several individuals were apprehended with suspected illicit substances in their hands. During the operation, twenty-four digital devices were seized as evidence and analyzed. 

The aim of “Operation Interception” was to apprehend those who connect with minors on the internet, have sexually explicit chats with them, and then travel to meet them for sex. Additionally, individuals ready to exploit minors by buying sex with a juvenile were targeted in the operation. On-line child predators search for youngsters in chat rooms and websites, initiate discussions with them, introduce sexual material, and eventually organize a meeting with them for the goal of having sex. Both boys and girls are targeted by these predators. In similar operations since 2014, the Georgia ICAC Task Force has detained over 130 individuals. 

To counteract this behavior, the proactive on-line investigation was a coordinated effort among the cooperating law enforcement authorities. To would-be child predators, the Brookhaven Police Department has issued a stern warning: “Our message is straightforward: if you believe you’re going to Brookhaven to meet a kid for sex, you’re more than likely to run across us. This kind of conduct won’t be allowed here.” “The Brookhaven Police Department is one of our most engaged member agencies,” Debbie Garner, GBI Special Agent in Charge and Commander of the Georgia ICAC Task Force, said. Their everyday efforts to prevent child exploitation are much appreciated. This kind of cooperation and teamwork is critical in the fight to protect our children from predators who want to hurt them. All of the agencies involved worked together to make this operation a success. We will continue to work together vigorously to safeguard our children.” 

The Georgia ICAC Task Force conducted proactive internet undercover investigations using sites known to be utilized to promote for the sex industry during “Operation Interception.” As a consequence of the investigations performed on these locations, one arrest was made. The individual detained was charged with human trafficking offenses for arranging to buy sex with a child, and the arrest included a monetary component. When compared to comparable activities in the past, this was a significant reduction. 

Prior to Super Bowl LIII, there were extensive media efforts aimed at discouraging people from purchasing sex with minors. In addition, law enforcement, non-profit groups, and victims’ support organizations made a concerted effort to educate the public and different sectors about the signs of human trafficking. One explanation for the drop in demand activity linked to these particular sites during “Operation Interception” may be because of this.

Investigators also undertook proactive undercover investigations to locate casual sexual partners utilizing adult-oriented apps. Using traditional dating and social media apps, the detectives were able to make 20 arrests. Those detained had sexually explicit communications with someone they thought was a minor, and the majority of them went to meet a child for sex. While some of these instances had a monetary component, the majority of them did not.

Despite the fact that certain websites purport to be for “adults only,” law enforcement often encounters instances in which minors use these sites, create accounts pretending to be older, and then become susceptible to exploitation, harassment, extortion, or violence. Several individuals were discovered to be talking with several investigators masquerading as children at the same time. Such behavior backs up what investigators find throughout these kinds of investigations: many predators deliberately target children on such platforms in order to groom them as future sexual contact victims. This is a daily danger to children, and the Georgia ICAC Task Force continues to investigate similar cases throughout the state on a daily basis.

During the operation, over 63 instances were identified that fulfilled the criteria for arrest. A total of twenty-one of these instances resulted in arrests. Investigators had almost 200 conversations with individuals on different social media and internet platforms throughout the course of the multi-day investigation. Many of them were encounters in which the subject initiated contact and, even after realizing they were speaking with a child, steered the discussion towards sex. The topic in several of those instances presented obscene or lude material, often introducing the juvenile (law enforcement officer) to pornography or asking the kid take nude or pornographic photos for them.

22 other law enforcement agencies engaged in “Operation Interception” as members of the Georgia ICAC Task Force, in addition to those that helped organize and coordinate the operation. These organizations were:

  1. Sheriff’s Office of Bartow County
  2. Sheriff’s Office of Cobb County
  3. Police Department of Columbus
  4. Conyers Police Department is a police department in Conyers, Georgia.
  5. Sheriff’s Office in Coweta County
  6. Sheriff’s Office of DeKalb County
  7. MATCH Task Force of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  8. Floyd County Sheriff’s Office
  9. Sheriff’s Office of Forsyth County
  10. Georgia Cyber Crime Center (GBI) (GBI-G3C)
  11. Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GBI-Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center) (GBI-GISAC)
  12. Department of Community Supervision of Georgia
  13. Glynn County Police Department is a law enforcement agency in Glynn County, Georgia
  14. Sheriff’s Office of Gwinnett County
  15. Sheriff’s Office of Hall County
  16. Lilburn Police Department is a police department in Lilburn, Georgia.
  17. Marietta Police Department is located in Marietta, Georgia.
  18. Analysis and Information Center of Mississippi (MSAIC)
  19. Polk County Sheriff’s Office
  20. Police Department of Savannah
  21. Homeland Security Investigations, US Department of Homeland Security
  22. Police Department of Woodstock

Multiple analysts from the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GBI-GISAC) are usually assigned to the intelligence duties during ICAC Task Force activities. GBI-GISAC had few staff to devote exclusively to “Operation Interception” this week since it was operating in a variety of support roles throughout the city in preparation for Super Bowl LIII. GBI-GISAC sought help from the Mississippi Fusion Center to address staffing problems while providing efficient support for all activities. Mississippi, GBI-GISAC, and Brookhaven PD specialized analysts collaborated to meet the task force’s intelligence requirements and identify suspects.

Brookhaven PD used license plate reader (LPR) equipment throughout the operation to track down previously identified predators when they entered the municipal boundaries. Brookhaven PD has almost 50 LPR cameras around the city thanks to a collaboration with Georgia Power and Vigilant Solutions technology. “Our officers were notified the minute a previously designated target entered the city using this technology, aiding in their eventual apprehension,” Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura stated.

As part of “Operation Interception,” the following people were arrested and charged in DeKalb County:

  1. Nicholas Alexander Bowen, a 29-year-old ride-sharing and delivery driver from Chamblee, Georgia, is a B/M.
  2. Thomas Cheung, A/M, Alpharetta, GA, 32, employee at a game company
  3. Jeshua Elijah Collins, a 22-year-old deli worker from Suwannee, Georgia, is a B/M.
  4. James Tunde Fadeyi, 55, of Lithonia, Georgia, is now jobless.
  5. Walter Gonzalez-Amaya, a 22-year-old maintenance worker from Norcross, Georgia,
  6. Larry Allen Gordon, a 31-year-old fast food restaurant employee from Hampton, Georgia, is a B/M.
  7. Zachary Tye Gourdine, a crane operator from Conley, Georgia, is 28 years old.
  8. Dylan Michael Graham, a 27-year-old elevator technician from Silver Creek, Georgia, is a W/M.
  9. Richard Jason Hyder, W/M, 41, asphalt grinding contractor, Elizabethton, TN
  10. Mitchell Allen Kennedy, W/M, Brooklyn, NY, 24, is a creative assistant at a software firm.
  11. Raheem Lalani, a 26-year-old man from Birmingham, Alabama, is jobless.
  12. Paving technician Marco A. Mendoza-Escalante, H/M, Riverdale, GA, 20
  13. Darwin Menjivar-Fernandez, 22, restaurant server, Powder Springs, GA
  14. Juan Valencia-Patino, a 22-year-old student from Jesup, Georgia, is a H/M.
  15. Juan Manuel Sanchez, 25, automotive mechanic, H/M, Woodstock, GA
  16. Junior Cornelius Timoteus, H/M, 25, restaurant server, Atlanta, GA
  17. Oscar Ramirez, H/M, 39, construction worker, Atlanta, GA
  18. Dylan Golding Whynot, W/M, 32, behavioral health case manager, Kennesaw, GA
  19. Kyle A. Williams, 32, warehouse employee, Stone Mountain, GA
  20. Robert Tyler Wilson, a 31-year-old automotive repair technician from Canton, Georgia, is a B/M.
  21. Tarno M. Walters, a 22-year-old grocery store clerk from Lawrenceville, Georgia, is a B/M.

The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the charges. DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston stated, “We commend this task force for its vigilance and aggressive attempts to safeguard our children.” “Those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens must face the consequences of their conduct. We will move swiftly to bring official accusations, with the ultimate aim of prosecuting the accused for these heinous acts in the interest of justice.”

230+ local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as other criminal justice agencies and prosecutor’s offices, make up the Georgia ICAC Task Force. The ICAC Task Force, which was established by the US Department of Justice and is administered and controlled by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, has the goal of assisting state and local law enforcement agencies in establishing effective responses to instances of cyber enticement and child pornography. This aid includes forensic and investigative elements, as well as training and technical help, victim care, and community education. The ICAC Program was created in response to the growing number of children and adolescents who use the internet, the spread of child pornography, and the increased online activity of predators looking for unsupervised interaction with minors. The ICAC program brings national resources to the local level by assisting state and local law enforcement agencies in developing effective and long-term responses to online child victimization and child pornography. Over the past several years, the Georgia ICAC Task Force has made an increasing number of arrests. The Georgia ICAC Task Force made 196 arrests in 2014. In 2015, the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 244 arrests, while the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 340 arrests in 2016. The Georgia ICAC Task Force made 350 arrests in 2017. The Georgia ICAC Task Force made 307 arrests in 2018. Since its establishment in 2002, the Georgia ICAC Task Force has made over 2,000 arrests. 

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