HALLSVILLE, Texas (KETK) – A Hallsville man was sentenced to five years in prison after being arrested during a sting operation for the online solicitation of a minor.

DPS led the operation and four people in total were detained in June 2021 and booked into the Gregg County Jail. The mayor of the city of Athens, James Montgomery, was arrested and others as well including:

  • Jesse Mason, 41, of Hallsville
  • Jordan Rook, 23, of Kilgore
  • Michael Bylsma, 42, of Karnack

On Tuesday, Mason pleaded guilty to online solicitation of a minor, possession of child pornography, and possession with intent to promote child pornography.

DPS said during the sting operation, the men were arrested after arriving at a location, and they had been communicating with investigators who pretended to be minors.