Plant City, FL – Authorities arrested eight men this weekend for allegedly traveling to meet minors for sex.
Officials with the Plant City Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement completed an undercover operation over the weekend where they pretended to be minors, usually 14 or 15 years old.
Detectives posted online ads and apparently communicated with the men through emails and text messages. A prearranged location was set up and the men were arrested by Plant City police officers as soon as they showed up.
The men were taken to the Orient Road Jail this weekend, each charged with one felony count of traveling to meet a minor for sex after using a computer.
The men detained range in age from 22 to 56.
Police claim one of the men sent links to pornographic photos and brought a camera with him to the meeting spot. The 23-year-old man faces 14 counts of transmission of material harmful to a minor and one count of attempted use of a child in a sexual performance.
It is considered illegal to use the Internet to arrange a meeting with a child under the age of 18 and then travel to the location with the intentions of engaging in sexual activity. Law enforcement agents are known for conducting undercover Internet traps in which they stage phony ads or engage in fake conversations posing as a minor in order to lure participants into setting up a meeting for sex. Once a suspect arrives at the predetermined location, they will be arrested immediately and charged with an Internet sex crime, such as traveling to meet a minor or soliciting a minor for sexual activity.
These crimes generally carry severe consequences that enforce mandatory time behind bars. Traveling to meet a minor is a second-degree felony in the state of Florida. This crime can be charged despite whether any sexual activity actually occurred. You can be convicted of traveling to meet a minor as long as prosecutors can prove you communicated online with what was believed to be a minor and that you arrived at a prearranged location to partake in sexual activity with a minor.
Many people arrested for this crime believe charges will eventually be dropped because no one was actually harmed. However, that is not true. Regardless of whether or not there is an actual victim, you could be facing a substantial amount of prison time. If you have been charged with traveling to meet a minor or any other sex crime involving the Internet in Florida, talk to a Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton online or call our Tampa office at (813) 221-3200. We can begin investigating any alleged online communications right away and establish a powerful defense. Don’t delay, contact us today statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529.
The staff was very attentive and answered all my questions regarding my criminal case. I was very pleased with the outcome and professionalism. Crystal Vasquez
Send us an email using the form below.
Boca Raton Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
3700 Airport Rd., Suite 401
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Naples Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
2390 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 102
Naples, FL 34103
Tampa/St. Petersburg Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
200 Central Ave., Suite 400
Tampa, FL 33629
Spring Hill Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
11020 Northcliffe Blvd
Spring Hill, FL 34608
Gainesville Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
2441 NW 43rd Street
Gainesville, FL 32606
Toll Free Florida Statewide:Whittel & Melton, LLC
The information on this Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys & Lawyers / Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.