Athens man arrested in child sex crime investigation

Drake Cook

An Athens man was one of five arrested in connection with “Operation Rattlesnake,” an undercover investigation into child sex crimes.

 

The operation was spearheaded by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit with cooperation from 11 police and sheriff’s offices.

Drake Cook, 23, of Athens, who was described as a retail store employee in Athens, was charged under the state’s computer pornography and child exploitation act.

The operation was centered in Hall County and also led to the arrests of construction worker Melo Hairapetian, 28, of Morris, Ill.; Anthony Jordan, 37, an unemployed resident of Newnan; pharmacist James Herndon, 58, of Flowery Branch; and Baribefe Monkpe, 23, of Lawrenceville, whose occupation was unknown.

Those arrested had traveled to the metro Atlanta area with the intent to meet a child for sex, according to the GBI.

“The goal of ‘Operation Rattlesnake’ was to arrest persons who communicate with children online and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex,” according to a statement from the GBI.

The online predators visited chat rooms and websites to find the children and eventually arrange to meet them for sex, the GBI said.

“I am proud that we were able to host the task force at our facility to carry it out,” Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said.

 

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