WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Over a dozen arrests were made after suspects thought they were on their way to meet young teenagers to have sex, but it turned out they were communicating with undercover detectives across several agencies in central Florida. Among those arrested were three Walt Disney World employees, a registered nurse, and a married man visiting from California, officials say.

The six-day operation targeted those who use the internet to prey on children, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. In total, 17 suspects face 49 felonies and two misdemeanors. 

“These are nasty, nasty people,” described Sheriff Grady Judd. “We can’t even use the words that they used. We obviously can’t show the pictures and video clips that they sent to what they thought were 13-year-old little girls and little boys.”

All but one lived in central Florida. A man, identified as 33-year-old Jarrod Justice, was visiting from Los Angeles, detectives said.

Full press conference: Polk Sheriff Grady Judd announces arrests of 17 suspects during undercover child predator sting

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd detailed the six-day undercover operation, which targeted those who use the internet to prey on children. In total, 17 suspects face 49 felonies and two misdemeanors.

“He showed up on vacation but he only needed to buy a one-way ticket because he’s not flying back to Los Angeles anytime soon,” Sheriff Judd said. “He’s married. Mrs. Justice did you hear that? His last name is Justice. That’s what we’re going to get. Justice for Justice.”

RELATED: Lakeland man arrested for have sexual contact with child, deputies say

Three suspects worked for Disney: two custodians at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park and a lifeguard at the Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel. The lifeguard was identified as 26-year-old Kenneth Javier Aquino of Orlando.

“He left his girlfriend who was 7 months pregnant with his child in order to have sex with a 13-year-old,” Judd said during Tuesday’s press conference.

Photos via PCSO

The two custodians were identified as 34-year-old Jonathan McGrew of Kissimmee and 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence of Kissimmee, who are in a relationship together, the sheriff said, adding that they thought they could have a threesome with a 13-year-old girl.

“[Jonathan] said to the child, ‘We want to enjoy this opportunity, we don’t want to rush. Even at the conclusion maybe we can cuddle a little bit,'” Judd explained. “Are you kidding me? That’s how you talk to 13-year-old children? ‘Our fantasy is to play stepdad, stepdaughter, stepmom; teacher, student; maybe even shoplifter where we do a strip search.’ He gave all of these details before the two of them show up.”

The agency worked with the police departments in Auburndale, Orlando, and Winter Haven, along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office during the investigation. 

The following information on each suspect was provided by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office:

1. 26-year-old Kenneth Javier Aquino of Orlando

On July 27, 2021, Aquino engaged in an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself. They also communicated via text messaging on cell phones. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then arrived as soon as he got off work, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he is a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World. When he arrived at the undercover location he was still wearing his Disney polo shirt, swimming trunks, and Crocs. He told detectives he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend. His criminal history includes previous arrests for possession of marijuana, possession of a concealed weapon, and failure to appear. 

Aquino was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery
  • One count Transmission of Material Harmful to Minor

2. 41-year-old Irving Oliver of Lakeland

On July 27, 2021, Oliver engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. They then texted back and forth via cell phones. He repeatedly asked the “girl” if she wanted to have sex with him, and asked for the address to the undercover location. He arrived at the location and was arrested without incident. His criminal history includes prior arrests for battery domestic violence, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, violation of an injunction for protection, no valid DL, and failure to appear.

Oliver was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

3. 33-year-old Jarrod Justice of Los Angeles, California

On July 27, 2021, Justice, while on vacation from California, engaged in an online conversation via a messaging app with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. They then texted back and forth via cell phones. He discussed what he wanted to do with her sexually when he arrived, and promised to bring condoms. When he arrived at the undercover location with the condoms, she asked him to bring him some candy, so he drove to a store and bought her some Sour Patch Kids. He returned to the location, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s married and he works at Best Buy.

Justice was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

4. 31-year-old Lior Enbar of Orlando

On July 27, 2021, Enbar engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. He then began calling her cell phone, using *67 to block his number. He asked the “girl” for photos and videos, and discussed what he wanted to do with the girl sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove there, with condoms, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that lives with his parents and he’s a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver. 

“He wanted to have a safe word,” Judd explained. “We have a safe word: Jail.”

Enbar was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery
  • Giving False info to LEO

5. 30-year-old Joshua Ortega of Davenport

On July 29, 2021, Ortega engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl, then asked for her phone number and communicated with her that way. He told the “girl” what he wanted to do with her sexually and promised her that he had condoms and wouldn’t get her pregnant. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then walked there, with condoms, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s unemployed and lives with his mother, and that he walked to the location to have sex with the girl because he hasn’t had sex in a while. His criminal history includes previous arrests for possession of cocaine and marijuana, burglary, grand theft, no valid DL, and violation of probation. He was released from state prison in January 2020. Detectives found PCP and drug paraphernalia concealed in his wallet. 

Ortega was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery
  • One count Introduction of Contraband into a Detention Facility
  • One count Possession of PCP
  • One count Possession of Paraphernalia 

6. 45-year-old Julio Enrique Cedeno, Jr. of Zephyrhills

On July 29, 2021, Cedeno engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl, then asked for her phone number and communicated with her that way. He told the “girl” what he wanted to do with her sexually and asked her for photos, videos, or to video chat. He sent her explicit photos of himself. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove there, with condoms, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s married, and he’s a self-employed general contractor. His criminal history includes previous arrests for aggravated battery, battery, theft, and violation of probation. 

Cedeno was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • Two counts Transmission of Material Harmful to Minor
  • One count Unlawful Use of Two-Way Communication Device

7. 47-year-old Juan Guadalupe-Arroyo of Davenport

On July 30, 2021, Guadalupe-Arroyo engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy. He told the “boy” that he was 40 years old and told him what he wanted to do with the boy sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove there, with condoms, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s a registered nurse at Adventhealth Care Center in Celebration. 

Guadalupe-Arroyo was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Misrepresenting Age Online/Use of Computer to Seduce a Child
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

8. 36-year-old Carlos Flores of Orlando

On July 30, 2021, Flores engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl, then asked for her phone number and communicated with her that way. He told the “girl” that he was 17 years old, and that he wanted to have sex with her in his car. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove to the area, with condoms, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s the manager of the Starbucks at the Orlando International Airport. 

Flores was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Misrepresenting Age Online/Use of Computer to Seduce a Child
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

9. 47-year-old Enrique Medina of Orlando

On July 30, 2021, Medina engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl, then asked for her phone number and communicated with her that way. He told the “girl” the things that he wanted to do with her sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove to the area, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he is employed by Celmark International in the sanitation department. 

Medina was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

10. 30-year-old Adam Smith of Kissimmee

On July 30, 2021, Smith engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl, then asked for her phone number and communicated with her that way. He told the “girl” the things that he wanted to do with her sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove to there, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he is employed as a maintenance technician at a hotel in the Old Town area of Kissimmee. His criminal history includes previous arrests for battery domestic violence, tampering with evidence, and violation of probation. 

Smith was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

11. 27-year-old Jeremiah Davis of Clewiston

On July 31, 2021, Davis engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl, then asked for her phone number and communicated with her that way. He told the “girl” the things that he wanted to do with her sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove to the area, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he is an Army veteran and currently employed by the city of Clewiston as a garbage truck driver. 

Davis was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

12. 44-year-old Thomas Snyder of Lakeland

On July 31, 2021, Snyder engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy, then asked for his phone number and communicated with him that way. He sent an explicit photo to the “boy” and told the “boy” the things that he wanted to do with him sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and took an Uber to the area, where he was arrested. He told deputies that he is a custodian at the Valencia Hills nursing home in Lakeland. 

Snyder was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery
  • One count Transmission of Material Harmful to Minor

13. 34-year-old David Ring of Lakeland

On July 31, 2021, Ring engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. He sent the girl several explicit images and videos of himself and told the “girl” the things that he wanted to do with her sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove to there, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he is unemployed. His criminal history includes previous arrests for knowingly driving while hislicense was suspended. 

Ring was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery
  • Four counts Transmission of Material Harmful to Minor

14. 27-year-old Philip Nelson of Polk City

On July 31, 2021, Nelson engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl, then asked for her phone number and communicated with her that way. He told the “girl” the things that he wanted to do with her sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove to the area, where he was arrested after a traffic stop while trying to leave the area. He told deputies that he is an apprentice line technician for Powertown Line Construction, and that he left his two children at home with his mother when he traveled to have sex with the minor. His criminal history includes a previous arrest for battery. 

Nelson was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

15. 34-year-old Jonathan McGrew of Kissimmee

On August 1, 2021, McGrew engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He told the “girl” that he wanted her to come to his apartment and have sex with him and his girlfriend, Savannah Lawrence (arrest details below). He sent videos of him and his girlfriend performing sex acts on each other. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then he and Lawrence took an Uber to the location, where they were arrested without incident. McGrew communicated with another undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl during the same time frame, also telling her that he wanted to have sex with her. Upon their arrests, McGrew and Lawrence told deputies that they are custodians at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. His criminal history includes a previous arrest for leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death (in Illinois). 

McGrew was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
 

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • Two counts Transmission of Material Harmful to Minor
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

16. 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence of Kissimmee

On August 1, 2021, Lawrence’s boyfriend, Jonathan McGrew, engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. McGrew told the “girl” that he wanted her to come to his apartment and have sex with him and his girlfriend, Lawrence. McGrew sent videos of the pair performing sex acts on each other. Lawrence rode with McGrew in an Uber to the location, where they were arrested without incident. They told deputies that they are custodians at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. 

Lawrence was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
  • One count Attempted Lewd Battery

17. 37-year-old Edward McGaffigan of Orlando

On August 1, 2021, McGaffigan engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl, then asked for her phone number and communicated with her that way. He told the “girl” that he wanted to have sex with her, then he sent her several explicit photos of himself. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and he was taken into custody at his Orlando home. He told deputies that he is a professional poker player. His criminal history includes a previous arrest for DUI (in Virginia). 

McGaffigan was arrested in Orlando on the Polk warrant and booked into the Orange County Jail for:

  • One count Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device
  • Three counts Transmission of Material Harmful to Minor  

RELATED:

“Nasty, nasty people:” 17 arrests after undercover child-predator sting

Full press conference: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd detailed the six-day undercover operation, which targeted those who use the internet to prey on children. In total, 17 suspects face 49 felonies and two misdemeanors.

The suspects thought they were speaking with or on their way to meet with young teenagers for sex, but it turned out they were speaking to undercover detectives across several agencies in central Florida.

Among those arrested include Disney employees, a registered nurse, and a married man visiting from California, officials say.


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Judge Bruce Schroeder talks about why he let the jury take home the jury instructions at the end of the day in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

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Kyle Rittenhouse is comfort by his lawyer as he was acquitted of all charges at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. The jury came back with its verdict after close to 3 1/2 days of deliberation. (AP Photo)

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Kyle Rittenhouse, left, along with all of the attorneys in the case make their way out of the courtroom after the jury was relieved for the day at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

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Dems’ sweeping social, climate bill passes divided House

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., celebrates the House passage of President Joe Biden's expansive social and environment bill with other Democrats in the House Chamber, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo)

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks to meet with reporters about plans to pass President Joe Biden's domestic agenda as the House meets to debate the "Build Back Better" Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 1(AP Photo)8, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., walks on the White House campus, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo)

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., presides over House passage of President Joe Biden's expansive social and environment bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo)

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In this image from House Television, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks on the House floor during debate on the Democrats' expansive social and environment bill at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Washington. (House Television via AP)

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House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., joined at left by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the ranking member, holds his gavel as the panel prepares the domestic agenda for a vote in the House, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (AP Photo)

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Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., speaks to reporters outside the House chamber during votes on President Joe Biden's domestic agenda, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (AP Photo)

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Voting Laws in Georgia, Florida & Texas


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Taiwan deploys advanced F-16V fighter jets amid China threat

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Newly commissioned upgraded F-16V fighter jets are seen at Air Force base in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its Air Force, as the island steps up its defense capabilities in the face of continuing threat...

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Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen poses for photos from the cockpit during a ceremony to commission into service 64 upgraded F-16V fighter jets at an Air Force base in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its Ai...

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Taiwanese Air Force personnel pass by one of the newly commissioned upgraded F-16V fighter jets at Air Force base in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its Air Force, as the island steps up its defense capab...

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Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen sitting in the cockpit is briefed during a ceremony to commission into service 64 upgraded F-16V fighter jets at an Air Force base in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its Ai...

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Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen passes by Taiwan Air Force personnel during a ceremony to commission 64 upgraded F-16V fighter jets at Air Force base in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its Air Force, as t...

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Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen inspects newly commissioned upgraded F-16V fighter jets at Air Force base in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its Air Force, as the island steps up its defense capabilities ...

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Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen inspects newly commissioned upgraded F-16V fighter jets at Air Force base in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its Air Force, as the island steps up its defense capabilities ...

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A Taiwanese Air Force flag bearer passes by one of the newly commissioned upgraded F-16V fighter jets at Air Force base in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its Air Force, as the island steps up its defense...

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Afghan Taliban’s victory boosts Pakistan’s radicals

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FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2021 file photo, Pakistan Army troops patrol along the fence on the Pakistan Afghanistan border at Big Ben hilltop post in Khyber district, Pakistan. The Taliban win in Afghanistan is giving a boost to militants in neighboring Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP,...

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FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2021 file photo, Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban win in Afghanistan is giving a boost to militants in neighboring Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, have become emboldened in tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. (AP Photo)

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FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2012 file photo, Pakistani Taliban patrol in then their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan. The Taliban win in Afghanistan is giving a boost to militants in neighboring Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, have become emboldened i...

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FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2021 file photo, Pakistan Army troops observe the area from hilltop post on the Pakistan Afghanistan, in Khyber district, Pakistan.The Taliban win in Afghanistan is giving a boost to militants in neighboring Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, have become embold...

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FILE - In this July 30, 2021 file photo, Police officers carry a casket of their colleague, who was killed in a grenade attack, during a funeral prayer, in Peshawar, Pakistan. The Taliban win in Afghanistan is giving a boost to militants in neighboring Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban, known as the T...

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FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2021 file photo, Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban win in Afghanistan is giving a boost to militants in neighboring Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, have become emboldened in tribal areas along the border with A...

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FILE - In this April 21, 2021 file photo, a police officer and rescue workers arrive at the site of bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan. The Taliban win in Afghanistan is giving a boost to militants in neighboring Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, have become emboldened in tribal areas a...

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FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2021 file photo, Security officials examine the site of suicide bombing in a checkpoint on the outskirts of Quetta, Pakistan. The Taliban win next door in Afghanistan is good news for Pakistani militants and the country's toxic mix of radical religious parties, but bad news f...

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BEIJING’S ISLAND-BUILDING IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

Runway

Runway

China is expanding the construction of its facilities on Fiery Cross Reef. Provided by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), this June 28, 2015 photo reveals Beijing has nearly completed a 3,000 meter (9,800-foot) airstrip, long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft. Two h...

Expansion

Expansion

Reclamation on Fiery Cross Reef, which lies on the west side of the Spratly Islands, began in August of 2014 and its principal landmass was finished by November. Dredgers have created a land mass that spans the entire existing reef and is approximately 3,000 meters long and 200-300 meters wide.

Facilities

Facilities

This picture taken last November shows construction work being carried out on Fiery Cross Reef. The reef reportedly already houses a helicopter landing pad, a 300-meter-long wharf, a harbor large enough to dock military tankers, barracks and artillery emplacements.

South Johnson Reef

South Johnson Reef

This reef was one of the first facilities to finish principal land reclamation. This recent picture shows that a radar tower is nearing completion at the north end of the land mass. According to AMTI, a new large multi-level military facility has been built in the center of the island. Up to six sur...

A naval base?

A naval base?

Beginning in early 2015, Mischief Reef - also located in the Spratlys - has undergone extensive reclamation activity. Experts say that the recent widening of the southern entrance to the reef, coupled with sightings of Chinese navy vessels, may suggest a future role for the reclaimed reef as a naval...

From reef to island

From reef to island

Significant construction on Gaven Reef began in 2014, with a total of 114,000 square meters of land already created. Satellite pictures show just how fast construction has progressed on the reef. A new artificial island was created between March (left) and August (right) 2014.

Troop garrison

Troop garrison

According to AMTI, China has had a troop garrison on Gaven Reef since 2003, which has included a large supply platform where ships can dock. Experts say a new main square building in the reef appears to be an anti-aircraft tower.

A standardized process

A standardized process

As seen in this image, the basic process of expanding these features involves dredging sand from the seafloor and dumping it onto the reefs. The structure is raised above the high water line, hiding the status of the bank or reef beneath. The sand is then smoothed out and workers surround the island...

'Historic rights'

'Historic rights'

China claims most of the potentially energy-rich waterway, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The US Pacific Fleet commander recently said China was "creating a great wall of sand" in the South China Sea, causing serious concerns about its territorial intentions. Beijin...

Territorial disputes

Territorial disputes

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims, which have led to territorial disputes in the area. Last summer, China's deployment of a massive oil rig in waters also claimed by Hanoi escalated tensions in the region, sparking a standoff at sea and violent anti-C...

US concerns

US concerns

Washington is concerned China's efforts carry a military dimension that could undermine the US' naval and economic power in the Pacific, and has weighed sending warships and surveillance aircraft within 12 nautical miles of the new artificial islands. Washington has repeatedly called on Beijing and ...

Ecological impact

Ecological impact

The Philippines filed a formal plea at the UN last year, challenging Beijing's territorial claims. Manila said China's reclamation activities are causing "irreversible and widespread damage to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the South China Sea." It also claimed that the destruction of co...

Runway Expansion Facilities South Johnson Reef A naval base? From reef to island Troop garrison A standardized process 'Historic rights' Territorial disputes US concerns Ecological impact

China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise

China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise

South Sea Fleet/China National Radio A JH-7 fighter-bomber assigned to the People's Liberation Army South Sea Fleet fires rockets during a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea on 14 and 15 May.

China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise

South Sea Fleet/China National Radio A warplane assigned to the People's Liberation Army South Sea Fleet strafe a floating target with rocket during a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea on 14 and 15 May. South Sea Fleet/China National Radio

China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise

South Sea Fleet/China National Radio A warplane assigned to the People's Liberation Army South Sea Fleet strafe a floating target with rocket during a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea on 14 and 15 May. South Sea Fleet/China National Radio

China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise

South Sea Fleet/China National Radio A JH-7 fighter-bomber assigned to the People's Liberation Army South Sea Fleet takes off from a runway during a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea on 14 and 15 May. South Sea Fleet/China National Radio

China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise China Drops Thousands of Bombs and Missiles in Colossal Military Exercise