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      Operation Magnet: Extracting Child Predators

      The Cameron County Sheriff's office and the San Benito Police Department were two of the agencies involved in Operation Magnet Friday.

      District Attorney Luis Saenz launched the initiative after discovering that a slew of alleged child sex offenders were skipping out on court dates and holding up their cases.

      "These are very, very dangerous individuals that if given the chance, studies show and experience shows that they will commit these offenses again, Saenz said.

      Authorities went after three alleged child sex offenders at the break of dawn Friday, and put them behind bars.

      Rutillio Flores, 44, of Harlingen is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, indecency with a child by sexual contact, and indecency with a child by exposure.

      Emilio Cruz, 37, also of Harlingen faces two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child; and 26-year-old Luis Mariano of Brownsville is charged with sexual assault of a child.

      Authorities said more roundups are to come, as there are over 100 alleged child predators with outstanding Fail to Appear warrants.

      "We need to get these people out of the streets, Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said. (These are) the kind of people that continue to do the same thing and (they) traumatize the child. (His or her) whole life is torn up for the rest of his life. One predator on the street is one too many and they need to be behind bars."

      Saenz said he's negatively surprised at the amount of child predators in Cameron County, but he said this operation is hoping to put these criminals where they belong.

      "This is why we call it Operation Magnet, Saenz said, when you have a whole bunch of iron fillings, and you roll a magnet over it, all these fillings just come out. That was our idea - to extract these dangerous individuals from our community."

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