26 Arrested During a Weeklong Sex Offender Raid in Bay County
A multi-agency, weeklong sex offender sweep called “Operation Safe Child” resulted in the arrest of 26 people on a variety of charges. Arrest warrants were also issued for an additional eight not residing at their registered address.
From Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, authorities paid unannounced visits to 307 sexual offenders and sexual predators living throughout the Bay County, FL area to ensure they were living at their registered addresses and complying with the various terms judges issued in relation to their case. Not everyone involved in the sweep were child sex offenders.
The agencies involved were the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Panama City Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Probation and Parole.
According to law enforcement agents, the most common charge for those arrested in the sweep was failure to register as a sex offender. Investigators allegedly discovered pornography on some of the subjects’ computers as well as the illegal possession of three weapons, a mobile meth lab and several people in possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.
Officials with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said a total of six out of the 26 individuals arrested in the sweep were charged with failing to register an instant message address as a sexual offender and resisting an officer without violence.
Any persons that qualify as a sexual predator or sexual offender must register as such in Florida. Failure to meet the requirements of the law and register is considered a third degree felony. Since the registration requirements enacted by the state of Florida are fairly clear, failing to register can be a serious legal challenge. Gaining leniency from courts can prove to be difficult and due to the past criminal sex charge conviction, failing to register often results in prison time.
As of Oct. 1, 2007 all sexual predators and sexual offenders are required to register any e-mail addresses as well as all instant message names before the use of either. Failure to register screen names or e-mails before using them is a felony and will result in your arrest.
If you have been arrested for failing to meet the Florida sexual predator or sexual offender requirements, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers online or call 866-608-5529.