The Catch a Predator … In Canadian County

Sheriff’s ICAC unit has arrested more than 200 since 2011

Canadian County Sheriff Office Major Adam Flowers (left) looks through the contents of a vehicle after an arrest was made during the filming of season two of “Undercover/Underage.” Roo Powell (right) looks on.

Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a series looking behind the scenes of how Canadian County law enforcement works to find and stop online predators of children. 

By Glen Miller
El Reno Tribune

Given the attention by law enforcement and advocacy groups toward the national epidemic of online sexual abuse of minors, a sane person would expect to see a drop in the number of reported cases.

Unfortunately, that’s not been the case.

According to the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, there were 19,174 reports of online enticement of a minor in 2019. Those numbers jumped 97.5% a year later to 37,872.

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West (seated) and Major Adam Flowers watch Roo Powell check her phone (on screen) during a scene from the second season of “Undercover/Underage.” The CCSO was heavily involved in the filming of the eight-episode season. (Photo by Glen Miller)

Roll forward two years (2022) and the NCMEC’s CyberTipline took in more than 32 million reports. Those reports contained more than 88 million images/video or other content linked to child sexual exploitation.

Since its inception in 2011, the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit of the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office has made more than 200 arrests of online predators with a 100% conviction rate.

Despite the success, Major Adam Flowers, who heads up the county’s ICAC unit, says his team averages two or more cases per week.

“There is not enough of us out there for it to be a deterrent for them,” Flowers said.

So, what drives predators to continue such enticement, knowing that law enforcement agencies could be watching their every move?

“The risk to reward ratio is not too high for them. There is more likelihood they will get a kid and not a law enforcement officer,” Flowers said.

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West agrees.

“We have several repeat offenders,” West said. “It makes you wonder if you can ever rehabilitate these folks. I believe these people we are catching, this is not their first rodeo.

“A lot of them feel they operate so freely and openly that they build up this comfort level. And then you get those who are so extremely careful that they will run counter-surveillance to try and avoid us.”

Roo Powell, founder of the child advocacy group Safe from Online Sex Abuse or SOSA, says the growth of online predators boils down to opportunity.

“There is that risk versus reward to some extent because it is so easy to connect with kids online and they just cannot help themselves,” she said. “It is notable that this is a crime of opportunity versus being a serial perpetrator and it’s interesting to see how these perpetrators range in quantity, frequency and the level of danger and severity.”

Powell, a former writer on such matters, now focuses her attention to catching online predators through the television show “Undercover – Underage.”

The show, which aired Season 2 earlier this year, engages with subjects either by telephone or video chats and then turns over all evidence collected to local law enforcement agencies.



One of those agencies SOSA worked with during Season 1 of the show, which airs on the Discovery Plus Network, was the CCSO and Maj. Flowers.

In episode four, titled “Pattern of Behavior,” Powell contacts Flowers through a video chat to gain information on a perpetrator named “Edward,” who had been interacting with a SOSA decoy named Alex.

That decoy was Powell herself, made up to look like a 15-year-old from Chicago. The show refers to Edward as an ACM, which SOSA defines as adults contacting minors.

Flowers knew Edward by another name – Cullen Jones.

The former Pushmataha County sheriff’s deputy had been arrested by the CCSO in 2019 while on his way to meet a 14-year-old girl he had engaged with on social media. That online decoy was Flowers.

Upon his arrest and vehicle search, items were found such as leather gloves, a knife and zip ties.

“During the course of the investigation, he wanted to meet at a convenience store on Mustang Road,” Flowers said. “After the crime was committed through the sexting and pictures, we knew he was there to pick up a child he thought was 13 or 14 years old.

“Sheriff West and I made the arrest and he admitted to everything he did.”

The story did not end with the arrest.

“During the process, he pleads guilty but was still out on a sentencing bond,” Flowers said. “During this period, he reaches out to what he thinks was another teenager but this time it was a SOSA decoy. 

“They were running a decoy who he thought was in Chicago. They (SOSA) do their background checks on Jones and find our press releases that he had been arrested, pleaded guilty and was awaiting sentencing.”

That prompted Powell’s call to Flowers.

“They reached out to me and asked what they could do to help us to try and get his bond revoked,” Flowers said. “He was getting on video chats with Roo because she could dress herself up to make herself look young.”

Jones was arrested a second time and given a maximum sentence, Flowers said, of 10 years in jail for solicitation of sex with a minor through the use of technology. He will be registered as a sex offender for life.

Flowers said Jones was not charged for his interactions with SOSA since it happened in a different county. However, the exchanges did factor into the maximum sentence being handed down in Canadian County.

“Because of what he did with Roo, being out on bond, played a part in why he got the maximum. It was presented to the judge, and he was basically tossed into prison and threw away the key,” Flowers said.


The Jones case played a part in the second season of “Undercover – Underage” being filmed in Canadian County.

“A year goes by, and I get a call from Roo, and she says we are going to do a Season 2 and we worked so well with them the first time and wanted to know if Canadian County would be interested in doing a couple of episodes in Season 2,” Flowers said. 

“We went through the district attorney to make sure all the T’s were crossed and the I’s were dotted.”

Powell said the cooperation of the CCSO is not always the norm of law enforcement and it did factor into the request to return to Oklahoma.

“There was a number of reasons for that,” she said. “I hope we are able to continue to work with law enforcement that are as dedicated as Canadian County is about putting away people that hurt children.”

Sheriff West agreed to the filming in hopes of enticing other agencies in the state to pick up the cause.

“Adam came over and said the show wanted to come in and sit down with us and talk about this deal,” West said. “I had no reservations because we have been doing this for so long and I believe we are so competent at doing it.

“The number one reason I agreed to do it was because more law enforcement agencies need to be doing this. Let’s do this and let people see it.”

Filming for Season 2 took place in the summer of 2022.

SOSA rented a house north of Yukon and used it as a production studio. Inside were rooms made up to look like those of teenagers from local high schools.

West said SOSA did research into developing the personas of the decoys.

“They were fictitious names, but they had to have Yukon, Mustang, Piedmont memorabilia on the walls and made-up backgrounds on where these kids went to school,” the Canadian County sheriff said. “Roo did all the heavy lifting when things were coming to them and then the girls were not interacting with the perps on video.”

What was expected to be a few episodes turned into all eight episodes of Season 2 being filmed here.

The end product after seven to eight weeks of filming was 22 arrests made with ACMs reaching out from New Orleans, Texas, Lawton (Fort Sill), Kansas, and another from a prison in Alabama.

“They were hoping to get eight to 12 offenders and we ended up getting 22,” West said.

A number which did not shock Flowers but did the show’s creators.

“I don’t think they were prepared to have that many cases here to keep an entire season going,” Flowers said.

The ACMs had show names like “The Producer” who was arrested at an Oklahoma City motel while trying to set up sex parties between adults and minors that would be filmed.

The “Patriot” was another who was trying to meet with both a 5-year-old and a 12-year-old.

Another ACM called “Engineer” was talking sexually with a decoy online. He was given a nine-month sentence as well as 20 years probation and lifetime sexual offender registration.

Flowers and West said that predator, from Texas, and others arrested on the show remain locked up in the Canadian County Jail today.

“If you follow all the online stuff, the viewers from last season said it was frustrating because they never told people what happened or if these guys were ever charged or went to prison.

“What they liked about Canadian County was they were getting convictions,” Sheriff West said.

West said everything filmed in both seasons involving Canadian County was real, from online interactions to the arrests. West said his office has creative control over content.

“They were sending us raw footage and we had final say as far as the way they were cutting the footage and if it could run that way,” he said. “That was part of the agreement. If we had issues, they had to change it, but we had no issues with anything.

“I would do it again, especially after seeing the product. They were good to work with and they are passionate, and Roo is a force multiplier and brought the extra element that we could not.”


Critics of Sheriff West’s decision to work closely with SOSA and Powell for Season 2 is that it puts the county in a bad light both statewide and throughout the United States.

West disagrees.

“If I had kids and was looking to move to Oklahoma and found out what Chris West and his team did to help keep kids safe, I would want to live there. That would be a pretty good county to go live in,” West said.

Maj. Flowers said the show has generated help from the public.

“We have got a lot of interest in volunteer work and interest in things people can do behind the scenes with outreach,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of emails and voice messages saying thank you and that is a reward in itself.

“I think this was a home run. Everything we hoped to achieve we achieved. Outreach, education and letting the public know what their sheriff’s office is doing to protect them and their kids.

“Right now, everyone is under a microscope and I’m proud to say this is what you entrusted us with, and this is what we are doing. We are doing it with integrity, professional and legally and with character. Law enforcement needs that right now.”

Powell says Oklahoma is not the epicenter of online sexual predators.

“This is everywhere,” she said. “I know this made it look like Oklahoma is the perpetrator capital of the world, but you can drop me in any city and I could catch you a perpetrator anywhere in a minute.

“Give me your cell phone and I can show you genitalia in 30 seconds. It’s not just Oklahoma.”

Powell understands citizens being upset by notable places inside the county being shown during arrests – places like a strip mall in Mustang or hotels in El Reno.

“I think people are appreciative that someone is trying to clean up their streets a little bit,” Powell said.