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Cleveland County undercover operation leads to arrest of alleged child predators

By Brooke Withrow

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    CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma (KOCO) — A Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office undercover operation led to the arrest of three alleged child predators.

Last month, the CCSO Criminal Investigations Division carried out an undercover operation targeting online predators. Throughout December, detectives used undercover profiles as underage boys and girls, chatting with individuals who were seeking inappropriate interactions with minors.

The CCSO said that although many subjects would stop communication once the undercover detective stated their profile’s age, others continued to chat and eventually requested a meeting.

“The people that continue to talk after the decoy’s age is clearly established are the true child predators, and those are the ones we are trying to take off the streets,” said Lead Investigator Det. Ray Kimbrough with the CCSO.

The undercover campaign resulted in the arrest of 34-year-old Marko Gallardo, 26-year-old Braden Johnson, and 25-year-old Elijah Mora.

Gallardo attempted to flee the scene once contacted and was booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center on Dec. 19. He faces four charges of lewd and indecent proposals, eluding an officer, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.

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