BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — One is from as far as Long Beach. Another was an active board member for a Bakersfield school district. One thing these men have in common is that they were all arrested in the last couple of months in an online child predator sting, with most of them taken into custody near a local park.
Since mid-January, at least 6 men, including former Lakeside Union School District board member Travis Fugitt, have been charged with multiple felonies where they are accused of trying to meet minors in person after having sexual conversations with them on social media apps.
No minors were ever in danger; in reality it was undercover investigators from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office acting as decoys. The department confirmed the arrests this afternoon.
Along with Fugitt, 36, other arrests include Jesus Navarrete, 33; Divyesh Bhakta, 44; Luis Nunezperez, 33; Matthew Ozanich, 23; and Aldo Alcaraz, a 27-year-old whose listed address is Long Beach, California. Records show Fugitt and 4 others were arrested in the area of Fruitvale Norris Park, while Nunezperez was taken into custody near Garces Memorial High School.
According to court documents, Bhakta and Alcaraz both believed they were chatting with 13-year-olds when they agreed to meet, with a probable cause document saying Alcaraz sent nude pictures during the conversation. Navarrete allegedly thought he was meeting a 16-year-old. KCSO said in each case the men turned the conversations sexual after learning about the decoys’ ages.
All men arrested have pleaded not guilty to their charges.