3 men charged in online sex predator sting, Lexington County sheriff says

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Three men, including one from Leesville, were charged within the last month with soliciting a minor in an online predator operation, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.

Thomas Hall, 26, of Leesville, Wilton McMillan, 45, of Simpsonville, and Mark Winchell, 49, of Savannah, Georgia, are charged with criminal solicitation of a minor as part of a month-long operation that included law enforcement officers posing as minors on social media apps.

Winchell also was charged with attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 and sexual exploitation of a minor, according to a news release.

Warrants said Winchell sent two nude photos and discussed masturbating and traveling two hours to “teach what he believed to be a 14 year old about sex,” via Kik Messenger.

Three men are still wanted in connection with the operation, the sheriff’s department said.

Michael Alexander Najera, 23, Brevard, North Carolina; Hampton Craig Short, 30, of Charlotte; and Steven Leslie Wright, 49, of Holiday, Florida, are wanted on charges of criminal solicitation of a minor and attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18.

Anyone with information about their whereabouts should call Crimestoppers at 888- 274-6372.

Last month, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, along with more than a dozen law enforcement agencies, charged 17 men in a similar operation.

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