ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) — Seven men were charged in Lorain County for online sex crimes with undercover officers who they thought were children.

Lorain County Prosecutor J.D. Tomlinson announced in a press release on Friday the following men, ages 24 to 53, were charged during Operation Watchdog:

• Mark Schnur, 53, Elyria, OH
• Gary Lovelace, 33, Avon Lake, OH
• Darrin Dudgeon, 36, Avon Lake, OH
• Wade Ellis Hering, 24, Elyria, OH
• David A. Bring, 42, Wellington, OH
• Devon Francis, 27, Amherst, OH
• Manuel Genao Vargas, 25, Cleveland, OH

The operation, led by the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, ran from July 19 to July 21 and identified the men interested in engaging in sexual activity with and/or sending pictures of their genitals to undercover officers posing as children.

Officers say the men then traveled to pre-arranged locations to engage in sexual activity with purported children but were arrested by law enforcement officers.

They were taken to the Elyria Police Department and later to the Lorain County Jail.

“Online predators remain a serious threat to our children. The Elyria Police Department and the Lorain County Prosecutor believes the success of this operation will send a message to offenders that you will be found, you will be arrested, and you will be prosecuted,” the department said.

Initial charges were filed against the defendants that include attempt to commit an offense of
unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and importuning.

Each case will be presented to the Lorain County Grand Jury with possible additional charges.