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7 arrested in operation to expose child predators in Kentucky

'Operation Gabbi Doolin' was named in honor of a 7-year-old kidnapped and murdered in 2015.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Seven Kentuckians were arrested in a joint operation from federal, state and local law enforcement to expose child predators in the community.

"Operation Gabbi Doolin" was named in honor of a 7-year-old girl kidnapped from her brother's youth football game in Allen County and murdered in 2015.

The United States Secret Service, U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and leadership of other Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force agencies conducted investigations in Elizabethtown and Louisville. The operation resulted in multiple arrests and the development of multiple investigative leads.

"Kentucky law enforcement has no more important mission than to protect our kids," said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. "And we can conceive of no more meaningful way honor to Gabbi Doolin and her family than to work together, federal, state, and local, in an operation in her name to remove predators from our Commonwealth."

Four Louisville residents face charges, while three others were also arrested. Their charges are as follows:

  • Charles Ashley, 66, of Adolphus has been charged with the attempted enticement of a minor, attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor and attempted production of child pornography. He faces no less than 10 years for enticement, 15 years for attempted production and no more than 10 years for attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor.
  • Travis Puckett, 23, of Elizabethtown was charged with attempted enticement of a minor, attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor. He faces no less than 10 years for enticement and no more than 10 years for attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor. The maximum potential sentence is life in prison. Puckett is scheduled to plead guilty on Nov. 23.
  • Melvin Dowell, 54, of Rineyville, pleaded guilty to attempted enticement and transfer of obscene material to a minor. He faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence with maximum potential sentence at life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2020.  
  • Joseph Zakhari, 33, of Louisville was charged in a Superseding Indictment with attempted online enticement of a minor, attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor, and attempted production of child pornography. He faces no less than 10 years for enticement, 15 years for attempted production and no more than 10 years for attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor. The maximum potential sentence is life in prison.
  • Jeffrie Corn, 25, of Louisville was charged with attempted enticement of a minor and attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor. He faces no less than 10 years for enticement and no more than 10 years for attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor. The maximum potential sentence is life in prison.
  • Jimmy Kwizera, 22, of Louisville, pleaded guilty to transfer of obscene material to a minor. He faces no more than 10 years in federal prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 10.
  • Eric Vanhandle, 54, of Louisville was charged with attempted enticement of a minor. He faces no less than 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is life in prison.

Robert Holman, Special Agent in Charge of the Louisville field office said the announcement serves as a reminder that agencies can identify criminals in "the dark corners of the internet."

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jo Lawless.

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