Panama City National Guard Colonel Sentenced to 10 Years in Undercover Sex Sting

A 45-year-old Panama City Beach man and a colonel in the Florida Air National Guard was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday after being convicted on Oct. 17 of attempted enticement of a minor for sex.

In May 2017, undercover investigators conducted an operation to identify individuals seeking to engage in sexual activity with minors. The man apparently responded to a Craigslist advertisement in which an undercover officer posed as a 14-year-old boy. During 90 minutes of conversation with the undercover officer, the man discussed the sex acts he wished to perform with the boy.

Through his email communications, the man repeatedly requested the physical address of the boy, offering to pick up the boy to engage in the sexual encounter. The man was arrested after arriving at the designated meeting place.

The case was investigated by the Panama City Beach Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security.

Undercover sex sting operations happen every day in Florida and across the nation. Typically, a police task force, usually composed of federal and state law enforcement, works in conjunction with prosecutors to devise a plan for an undercover child sex sting.

The undercover operation continues by assigning an undercover officer to the task of posing as a minor or the guardian of a minor child. This undercover officer will post or surf ads on websites like Craigslist and then start communication via email. The scenarios are usually the same: a minor claiming to be interested in sex, or a guardian of a minor looking to teach their child about sex. Conversation leads to meeting up and once the suspect arrives at the designated meeting spot, they are arrested and taken to jail.

If you have been arrested in an undercover police sting, our Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help. After your arrest, you may find yourself in the public eye, fired from your job, and all your friends and family have left you. You don’t have to face the judge alone, though. We can help you understand what your rights are and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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