A dozen convicted sex offenders were arrested for reportedly violating their obligation to register, according to Lubbock police officials.
The arrests were a result of a monthlong multi-agency operation -- dubbed Operation Lubbock Tornado -- that involved law enforcement agents going door-to-door making sure the registered sex offenders living in Lubbock are complying with their obligations as registered sex offender.
"It holds people accountable," said Lubbock police Lt. Brady Cross. "These folks register and they have to follow a lot of guidelines and rules and this is just another way we hold them accountable. It's unexpected, they're not notified and so I think people should take a lot of comfort in knowing that we're out there doing more than just the basics of what's required of us."
From July 5 to Aug. 4, agents with the Lubbock Police Department, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations visited 466 homes found 281 convicted sex offenders complied with their obligation to register and 97 people responded to hangers agents left on their doors.
"For the most part it's checking with us, it's providing us your current address, what kind of car you drive, where are you working - just the basics, so that we can follow up with you," Cross said.
Investigators determined 12 people weren't complying with their duty to register and were arrested.
"I would say that that's overwhelmingly good," Cross said. "That's a small percentage. It just goes to show that the officers here at the Lubbock Police Department, the Sheriff's office and our federal partners do everything we can to make sure that the offenders in our area are following the rules and doing what the need to be doing and I think this shows that well."
He said the remaining sex offenders who have not responded will be given time to contact an investigator.
"He'll follow up and give those people another chance to make sure they're cooperating and doing what they need to do," Cross said.
Of the 12 people arrested, 10 are facing a count of failure to register as a sexual offender. Those are: Cory Sandefer, 55; Gerardo Avila, 45; Matthew Fillmore, 69; Eduardo Ganzo, 42; Ramon Loera, 49; Brandon Martinez, 37; Paul McRorey, 49; Ruben Rodriguez, 48; Emilio Sanchez, 48; and Rocco Love, 69.
One man, 50-year-old Andrew Reyes, was served with a warrant charging him with a new sexual offense. He was arrested July 19 and remains held at the Lubbock County Detention Center as of Tuesday.
A Lubbock County grand jury returned an indictment against Reyes on July 12, charging him with indecency with a child by sexual contact.
His charge stems from a May 16 Lubbock police investigation into an outcry of sexual abuse by a teenage girl, who said Reyes was babysitting her and touched her inappropriately when she was 8 years old in 2014.
Court records show he was convicted in 1997 of a count of sexual assault and was required to register as a sex offender for life. In 2018 he was convicted of failing to register as a sexual offender.
Another man, 72-year-old Javier Elizondo violated a city ordinance barring convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of public parks or public recreational facilities open to minors, private or public schools, boy's or girl's organizations chartered by a state or national organization and day-care centers.
Elizondo was convicted in 1994 of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
A Google maps search of Elizondo's address, which is listed on the Texas Sex Offender Registry website, indicates that it is about 800 feet from Burns Park.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: 12 arrested in Lubbock sex offender roundup