An undercover online operation in Florida led to the arrest of 13 men accused of soliciting sex acts from children, including a man who worked as a cook at a Florida resort and an HIV positive paint store employee.
ABC reports that the Polk County Sheriff’s Department (PCSO) announced that as part of an operation to find child predators, undercover detectives posed as young boys and girls while make fake online identities on social media dating apps.
During “Operation Cyber Guardian Fall Haul,” which lasted from October 2 through October 7, the detectives chatted online to the 13 suspects, who reportedly thought they were communicating with children between the ages of 13 and 14. Each suspect made plans to meet up with the boy or girl they thought they were chatting with, but were instead met by detectives. According to authorities, numerous suspects showed up with incriminating items, such as lubricants and condoms.
One of the suspects, according to detectives, was an HIV positive who solicited a young boy, aged 13, for sex. Another suspect was a former military officer who had previously been arrested for child molestation. Another male suspect brought sex toys, male enhancement pills and a new iPhone 8 along with him. Along with a resort cook, a food runner was also arrested, in addition to a suspect from Lake Mary who had a previous charge of “obscene communication with a minor.”
The men arrested ranged in ages from their 20’s to 50’s, according to authorities.
“These predators are out there, trying to sexually seduce and violate children. They lurk in chat rooms and online, ready to groom children for sex,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “Fortunately, because of the great work of our detectives, at least 13 of them won’t be doing that any time soon. The things that these predators say to children they believe are 13 and 14 are vile and disgusting.”
The suspects are facing various charges, including:
- Attempted HIV infected sexual intercourse
- Using communication devices to commit felonies
- Transporting harmful materials to minors
- Attempted lewd battery
- Traveling to meet a minor with the intention of having sex
- Attempted child molestation
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
Sheriff Judd is briefing the media about Operation Cyber Guardian, Fall Haul, during which undercover detectives arrested 13 suspects between the ages of 20-50, for traveling to Polk County to have sex with who they believed were children aged 13-14 years old. Altogether they face 57 total felonies. Click here to read the news release: https://bit.ly/2NxMqk2
Posted by Polk County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, October 9, 2018
[Feature Photo: Pixabay]