Joint Lake Polk County Sex Sting Nets 101 Arrests
An undercover cyber crime prostitution and child-sex sting conducted jointly by the Lake and Polk county sheriff’s offices resulted in 101 arrests Tuesday.
Of those arrested was a 22-year-old Orlando community activist who drove to a Clermont-area house intending to meet what he believed was a 12-year-old girl he had been chatting with online for sex, according to authorities. Once the man arrived at the decoy house, police threw him to the ground and arrested him.
The two-week sting started on May 18 and concluded with 79 people being arrested in the prostitution phase of the operation and 22 in the child-sex sting phase, according to reports.
The operation, called “L & P” for “Lake” and “Polk,” used chat rooms and online forums to target people looking for sex with minors.
The first phase of the operation aimed at identifying people looking to have sex with minors between the ages of 10 and 14. The second phase of the operation targeted prostitution, and most suspects were arrested for attempting to engage in a sex act for cash.
According to reports, a few of the arrests from the two-week sting were for drug possession, and one driver faces charges for taking a person to the house knowing prostitution was involved, according to authorities.
Law enforcement officials in Lake County are increasing their efforts to put those looking to pay for sex behind bars with their abundance of undercover prostitution busts. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office uses these sting operations to lure and catch all individuals trying to solicit sex from various online outlets, including internet websites like Backpage.com and Craigslist.com. Once these “Johns” who surf the web for sex arrive at the arranged location and attempt to exchange money for sex, they are quickly arrested.
While solicitation of prostitution is a misdemeanor for first-time offenders in Florida, it can be enhanced to a felony sex crime depending on whether or not the accused has violated prostitution laws on three or more occasions. Many first-time offenders can have their cases dismissed and their criminal records expunged with the right a on their side.
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested or indicted on sex crime charges, like solicitation of prostitution, please call a Lake County Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton today at 866-608-5529 for your immediate free consultation. We can help you map out the best defense strategy for your case, so do not delay.