Undercover deputies in Canadian County are using social media to catch online predators.
Deputies have been posing as young girls online and have already caught dozens of suspects before those men got to real children.
The latest arrest happened at 5:30 p.m. today involving a man the Lieutenant was messaging while interviewing with News 9.
"We pretend to be the target that these bad guys want, we pretend to be the kids," explained Lt. Adam Flowers with the Canadian County Sheriff's Office.
Lt. Flowers specializes in computer crimes and forensics, gathering evidence against suspects while posing as a young girl online.
"They look for any victim that they can get their hands on," Flowers explained. "Wherever they can fulfill their sick, twisted, sexual fantasies, evil fantasies, on kids - that's who they are going to go for."
In the last 24 months, the efforts of the Canadian County Sheriff's Office to proactively hunt child predators has led to more than 40 arrests.The most recent arrest was Dustin Crump on June 6th.
Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West said Crump admitted to soliciting sex from an underage girl, knowing it was illegal.
When Mike Dubala was arrested, court documents state he planned to buy girl's underwear in his favorite color for the 15-year-old he tried to meet.Deputies said when they arrested Stephen Sloan, he had duct tape, rope and razor blades in his car for his rendezvous with the young girl he thought he was sexting.
"We are trying to prevent victims, we are trying to take away the monsters that prey on and devour our children," said Flowers.
Flowers said his cases take as little as a few hours to as long as a week from the first contact to the arrest.
"We are extremely proud of what we're able to accomplish as far as safeguarding the lives of our young people," said Undersheriff West.
Flowers cannot reveal much about his methods, but said he uses Facebook profiles, Craigslist ads, Yahoo Messenger and cell phone apps that are popular among kids.
"We will catch something, and unfortunately no matter how many profiles that we make, we're not going to get them all," Flowers admitted.
All of his cases involve either alleged sexual predators or alleged child porn distributors.