Inside "Operation Medusa," Which Broke Up a Collin County Child Pornography Ring

A wide-ranging child porn investigation ends in mass arrests in Collin County.
A wide-ranging child porn investigation ends in mass arrests in Collin County. Collin County Sheriff's Office
Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner calls the weeklong, multi-agency investigation that led to 15 arrests May 15 “Operation Medusa.” The charges included possession of child pornography, invasive visual recording, online solicitation of a minor and possession with the intent to promote child pornography.

One of the people arrested is fairly well known to anyone who has been to Poor Richard’s Cafe, about the only place in Plano where you can find chicken ‘n' eggs or a bacon cheeseburger omelet. His name is Richard Butterly, and he took over the restaurant in 1982. Now he's facing a possession of child pornography charge.

The restaurant’s Facebook page has since disappeared.

Captain Jim Moody of the Collin County Sheriff’s Office told the Observer on Tuesday that Operation Medusa started last week, part of the North Texas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The U.S. Department of Justice helped fund the program, a national network of 61 coordinated task forces that represents 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Others arrested were Richard Coccaro, Julien Duhec, Scot Eenigenburg, Jason Gyorfi, Robert Hernandez, Thomas Higgins, Rick Huss, Kirk Martinez, Daniel Mclean, Eric Montalvo, Phillipjohn Ramkissoon, Christopher Reddick, Deryl Reed and Gustavo Villalobos.

Not much is known about Butterly's arrest, but felony probable cause affidavits for 12 of the other suspects include graphic descriptions of criminals using apps like Kik and Dropbox to share images of children being abused.

For example, in Montalvo's case, Collin County Sheriff's Office investigator Chris Meehan received four cybertips in February from the Dallas Police Department's ICAC unit regarding a report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in early January.

According to the affidavit, Microsoft contacted the national center regarding a Skype user uploading images of nude, underage girls. The Mesquite Police Department sent officers to 37-year-old Montalvo's house, where officers learned that he had been in contact with other suspects. Law enforcement officials reviewed his electronic devices and found images of children engaged in sexual acts and lewd displays.

"One such image depicts a female child, approximately 2-5 years of age, lying on her back with what appeared to be a pink colored dress pulled back and exposing her genitals to the camera," law enforcement wrote in the felony probable cause affidavit.  

Investigators discovered she was sending sexual images of her 7- year-old daughter to a man.

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Law enforcement picked up 33-year-old Christopher Reddick, who works at Dave & Busters, after it was alerted to an IP address he'd been using to receive child pornography from a Kik user named Melissa Skelton. She'd been arrested in Muskogee, Okla., on Feb. 3 after investigators discovered she was sending sexual images of her 7-year-old daughter to a man named Zachary Perry.

That man, investigators claim, had been sending child porn to Reddick.

"An examination of a phone conversation between Perry and Skelton, Perry agreed to pay Skelton for sexual images of her daughter, and Skelton had sent Perry multiple images of her daughter nude as well as images of her daughter performing sex acts," according to Reddick's felony probable cause affidavit. "The messages recovered also indicated that Skelton had taken her daughter to Perry's residence where he had sexually abused the daughter."

Kirk Martinez, 30, was nabbed when a Plano police detective working undercover posted an ad called "Nothing I can say on here ..." and the words "TABOO" in block letters on Craigslist. He wrote, "I keep getting kicked off but if you're interested, hit me up. Please be serious and I get to watch is the only thing I want."

An FBI special agent assisted the detective and began responding to Martinez, portraying herself as an adult woman with a 10-year-old child. According to Martinez's felony probable cause affidavit, Martinez asked, "I mean do you wanna trade pics/videos? Something along those lines." In a later conversation, he described in graphic details the sexual acts with children.
Collin County Sheriff's Office

Martinez proceeded to share pictures and videos of young children to prove that he wasn't a cop. He the ]n asked the FBI agent to share a picture of the fictional mother molesting her daughter. Instead, he was arrested.

Moody says the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, Plano Police Department and Collin County District Attorney’s Office spearheaded the operation. The 15 individuals involved in the child pornography ring were picked up through various means, some identified by search warrants and others after the task force analyzed some of the suspects’ hard drives and other electronic devices.

“To be clear, if you traffic in child pornography, or you come to Collin County with the intent to have sex with a child, know that we are hunting for you,” Moody says. “We will protect our children.”

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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.