The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrested 35 men in a week-long undercover child sex sting that ended Monday at midnight.
Dubbed “Operation Green Shepherd II,” the undercover police sting focused on catching so-called predators allegedly looking online to have sex with minors.
Among those arrested include a registered nurse and a Tampa high school teacher.
Detectives went online and arranged meetings with the men, who apparently believed they were going to meet up with a minor for sex. The men were arrested as soon as they showed up at the designated meeting location.
According to detectives, many of the men arrested were asked to bring things to the meeting house, such as condoms and value meals from McDonalds.
All 35 have been arrested and face a variety of charges including, traveling to seduce/solicit/entice a child to commit sexual act, use of a computer to seduce/ solicit/entice a child to commit sexual act and attempted lewd and lascivious behavior.
While undercover child sex stings have become increasingly popular, arrests from these types of undercover operations continue to skyrocket. In fact, in this particular case, police claim many of the men they spoke to online said they believed they were talking to a cop and that they were being set up. However, they still showed up to the arranged location and were immediately arrested. Local and national law enforcement agencies continuously set up new undercover operations in the hopes of catching alleged predators looking to make illegal contact with minors. And even if the suspect has no information regarding the juvenile’s age, he or she can still be prosecuted under Florida laws against the solicitation of a minor.
Law enforcement agencies throughout Florida will use all kinds of tricks to catch those they believe are looking to engage in sexual activity with a child. Following an arrest stemming from an undercover sex sting, it is absolutely vital to establish a powerful defense as soon as possible. A conviction for soliciting a minor usually carries mandatory prison time and each solicitation made can be charged as a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. These charges are intensified when a person is also accused of traveling to meet with a minor for sexual relations. If charged with traveling to meet a minor, you could be facing a second-degree felony carrying the possibility of 15 years behind bars.
If you have been arrested in an undercover child sex sting anywhere in the state of Florida, contact a Florida Internet Solicitation Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton online or dial us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529. We can begin assisting you immediately, so do not delay!
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