NEWS

Online sexual predator operation results in arrests

A Florida man with ties to South Carolina is accused of sending sexually suggestive messages to law enforcement officers posing as minors on social media apps.

Steven Leslie Wright (below left), 49, is charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 and sexual exploitation of a minor, according to arrest warrants.

“Wright is the 23rd man arrested as part of the monthlong operation we hosted in the summer with the Lexington Police Department and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “The intent of these suspects during these communications is clear. They wanted to persuade, entice or coerce someone they reasonably believed to be under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity.

”Wright is a previous sex offender who failed to stay current with South Carolina’s sex offender registry, according to Koon.

“He used the Meet24 app to send messages and pictures to a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl,” Koon said. “Wright was arrested last month in Pickens County.

”Two other men recently turned themselves in on charges stemming from the operation:-Michael Alexander Najera (center), 23, Brevard, North Carolina – criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 and sexual exploitation of a minor-Hampton Craig Short (right), 30, Charlotte, North Carolina – criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18No children were ever used or placed in danger during the operation, according to Koon.