Dozens of sex offenders arrested during pre-Halloween roundup in Ariz.

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By Sarah Blais By Sarah Blais

PHOENIX -- Dozens of alleged sex offenders and child predators sought on outstanding warrants have been arrested in an annual pre-Halloween roundup by federal, state and local law enforcement officers in Arizona.

The U.S. Marshals Service said Operation Safe Treat VII resulted in 55 arrests in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff.

In a news release, the U.S. Marshals Service mentioned three notable arrests that were made during the October roundup.

Damien Muniz, 33, was arrested on Oct. 21 in Phoenix for probation violation. Officials said Muniz was charged and convicted of three counts of exploitation of a minor and dangerous crimes against children. In 2008, Muniz was found in possession of several computer files and images showing child pornography and sexually exploitative material.

Yolanda Silva, 21, was arrested in Phoenix on Oct. 28 for violating the conditions of her probation. Silva originally was charged with molestation of a child and two counts of dangerous crimes against children. Those charges involved a 10-year-old child who was victimized while living in the same residence.

In Tucson, Anthony Wayne Lillie, 28, was arrested Oct. 8 for aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation. It is alleged that Lillie had befriended a 10-year-old girl on an Internet-based social networking site and had sent her sexually explicit messages and a photo. Lillie was taken into custody without incident when attempting to meet with the child in a public mall in Tucson.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said the roundup is an effort to reduce the number of victims.

"Sexual Offenders are a significant threat to our most vulnerable citizens, so it is essential that we teach our children how to recognize and evade the 'lures' used by these predators," Gonzales said in the news release. "The U.S. Marshals Service is committed to a year-round effort of arresting those who violate child sexual exploitation laws and in working within the community to reduce the number of victims."

Part of the operation is to ensure registered sex offenders are residing at their place of record. This phase continues Friday as law enforcement personnel team up with probation officers in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma to conduct compliance checks intended to ensure that supervised sex offenders are complying with their terms of probation and are not participating in any Halloween activities.