Darlington man is one of 17 arrested in online child-sex sting operation

Kane Hicks. PHOTO: LEXINGTON SHERIFF’S DEPT.

A Darlington man has been arrested in a large sting operation, involving a dozen law-enforcement agencies, that targeted men allegedly trying to contact children online for sex. Kane Hicks, 23, of Darlington is charged with attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, according to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, which coordinated the month-long sting operation. He is one of 17 men charged in the operation. “We, along with the Lexington Police Department and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, served as the host agencies for this operation,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said in a statement. “Officers pretended to be underage teenagers as the suspects messaged them through apps. Some even had phone conversations with officers. After the suspect asked to meet with ‘the child,’ detectives were staged at a pre-determined meeting spot to arrest them.” Most of the messages involved sexually explicit images and language. Officials said no children were used or harmed during the operation. The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Secret Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Cayce Department of Public Safety, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Aiken Department of Public Safety also assisted, according to Koon’s statement. According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s news release, the following men were arrested: William Banks, 51, of Liberty — attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18 Steven Bradley, 42, of West Columbia — two counts of attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, unlawful carrying of a handgun Darrin Bray, 40, of Greenville, Ill. — attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor Kevin Carpenter, 26, of Evergreen, N.C. — attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18, criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor Brian Cates, 54, of North Augusta — criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18 Geoffrey Dudding, 36, of Charlotte — conspiracy to commit criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted promoted prostitution of a minor Mark Frick, 54, of Gaston — attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor Keair Fuewell, 23, of Gloverville — criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 19 Landon Gibson, 40, of Simpsonville — three counts of attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18, criminal solicitation of a minor Kane Hicks, 23, of Darlington — attempted sexual exploitation of a minor Walter Huggins, 45, of Camden — criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18 David Jones, 51, of Pelion — attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor Willie Manning, 57, of Winnsboro — criminal solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor Joshua Paczowski, 21, of Lexington — attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor Misael Quezada, 31, of Blythewood — criminal solicitation of a minor Eric Setterberg, 54, of Gadsden — attempted criminal sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor Charles Templeton, 74, of Gaston — criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18.

Author: Rachel Howell

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