While millions across the country were using social media to harmlessly prank their friends and family last week, police in Florida took to the dark corners of the Internet to uncover and stop alleged would-be child sex offenders.
The undercover child sex sting caught 18 men arranging sexual encounters with children.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd released the results of "Operation April's Fools" on Tuesday.
"These freaks and these deviants are looking for our children every day online," Judd said at a news conference. "They worked in all different lines of business, and they had one thing in common: they're child predators."
Investigators said the men had arranged to have sex with children from 10 to 14-years-old.
Undercover detectives nabbed the men by luring them with fictitious ads or profiles on social media, websites and phone applications, pretending to be either children or their custodians.
Despite prior coverage of past events, multiple men responded to and engaged with the undercover detectives, and officials divulged some of the most shocking details of those alleged encounters.
WARNING: Some of the details below are disturbing and explicit
Click through to see details on the suspects and their alleged crimes:
According to authorities, 21-year-old Michael Fernandez arranged to have sexual intercourse with a girl who he believed to be 10-years-old. Communicating with an undercover detective posing as the girl's father Fernandez allegedly said, "I like em young" and "I have a sis she 8 but haven't done nothing yet."
Another suspect, 60-year-old Howard Bishop III, is accused of chatting with a detective posing as the father of a 10-year-old girl. He allegedly told the detective he was "very much into nudism and quality family fun; I am very open minded and up for anything." After going into detail about the sexual activities he wanted to engage in with the 10-year-old, authorities said he implied he had previously done sexual acts with a 10-year-old girl. Detectives are investigating any prior sexual abuse against juveniles he may have committed.
Robert Michael Gordon, a football coach at a local private Christian high school, is accused of arranging a sexual encounter with a girl he believed to be 14-years-old. He was caught with two condoms.
One man arrived at the undercover location to have sexual intercourse with who he believed to be a 14-year-old girl, according to authorities. Preston Lee Bousquet, 28, told the undercover detective posing as the girl about different sexual positions he wanted to teach her. Bousquet told detectives he is married, but his wife is out of the country.
Jerin Jolly James, a married hospital technician, allegedly arrived at the undercover location to have sexual intercourse with who he believed to be a 14-year-old girl but told authorities he only wanted to talk to the girl in person and tell her how wrong talking with men online about sex was. He brought condoms to the location.
According to investigator, some suspects brought condoms, candy, and illegal narcotics to the undercover location. Suspects sent pornographic pictures to the children and some asked for nude photos of the children.
The 18 suspects nabbed during the week-long operation face a total of 103 charges and more charges are pending further investigation of their phones and computers.
"This is why we are proactive and conduct operations like this one. We have to search out these predators before they get to our children. Any child with a social media device means a predator has access to that child. Even more importantly, parents need to work with us to protect them," Sheriff Grady Judd said.
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