The nationwide sweep, dubbed “Operation Cross County VIII,” netted 281 pimps from around the country and 71 related offenders in Georgia.
The Marietta and Smyrna police departments, the Cobb district attorney’s office, and county police assisted federal investigators in tracking down suspects in the juvenile sex trafficking industry around the county.
“The FBI’s commitment and dedication toward the protection of our nation’s children is clearly demonstrated in this latest national initiative and its primary objective of recovering juveniles being exploited and arresting those exploiting them,” said J. Britt Johnson, head of the Atlanta FBI office. “This is not an easy endeavor, and the extensive participation and support from our various law enforcement partners is not only appreciated, but is very much needed for these initiatives to be successful.”
The Atlanta FBI Field Office indicated at least four suspects were apprehended in Cobb in connection with the massive, week-long investigation operation.
Bobby Oneal Negri, Jr., 47, of Powder Springs, was arrested on charges of criminal attempt at child molestation/enticement, while Ashley Paden, 24, and Sheronna Phillips, 26, both of Marietta, were arrested on charges of prostitution. Andrew Novak, 30, also of Marietta, was arrested on charges of interstate interference with custody.
Paden and Phillips were both taken into custody Wednesday and released on bond the next day. Novak was arrested June 16 and released the same day, according to the Cobb Sheriff’s Office.
To date, the FBI and its partners have recovered about 3,600 children from the streets since it ran the first Operation Cross County in 2003.