ASHLEY, DOWELL, PUCKETT

ASHLEY, DOWELL, PUCKETT

Two Hardin County men and another man accused of setting up a meeting with an underage person in Hardin County are part of a combined effort to net online child predators as part of an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigation.

The culmination of Operation Gabbi Doolin was announced Monday by federal law enforcement. It was named in honor of Gabbi Doolin, 7, who was kidnapped and murdered in 2015 from her brother’s youth football game in Allen County.

The investigations, which were conducted in Elizabethtown and Louisville, resulted in multiple state and federal arrests. In addition to the arrests, multiple investigative leads were developed that continue to assist law enforcement with the apprehension of child predators, according to a news release.

Melvin Dowell, 54, of Rineyv­ille, Travis Puckett, 23, of Eliza­bethtown and Charles Ashley, 66, of Adolphus, were among seven people named in the investigation.

Dowell has pleaded guilty to attempted enticement and transfer of obscene material to a minor. He faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence. The maximum potential sentence is life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 1.

He was arrested Aug. 30, 2019, by Eliza­beth­town police and released Sept. 3 from the Hardin County Detention Center on a $10,000 partially secured bond.

Puckett has been charged with attempted enticement of a minor, attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor. He faces not less than 10 years for the enticement charge and not 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 Nov. 23, according to a news release.

Ashley 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 was in contact, according to an arrest citation, with an undercover detective in Hardin County at the time of the offenses.

He faces not less than 10 years for the enticement charge, not less than 15 years for the attempted production charge and not more than 10 years for attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor. The maximum potential sentence is life in prison.

“Kentucky law enforcement has no more important mission than to protect our kids,” U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman said. “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. More to come.”

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