Sex sting leads to 277 arrests in Florida
A cancer surgeon, a teacher, a pediatrician, an Air Force veteran, a retired police officer and a colonel in the Marine Corps were among the nearly 300 people arrested in Florida in a massive prostitution sting, police say.
The undercover human trafficking operation, which was called "Operation No Tricks, No Treats" and ran from Oct. 10-15, netted 277 people, according to a press release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
During the operation, undercover detectives and law enforcement personnel from the Florida towns of Bartow, Winter Haven, Haines City, Lakeland and Lake Wales investigated a human trafficking and online prostitution ring in two locations in Polk County.
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During the operation, detectives posted fake ads and profiles on multiple social media sites and cellphone apps posing as prostitutes or soliciting prostitutes, according to the press release.
Of the 277 arrests, 51 were of people who advertised themselves as prostitutes, 209 were of people who solicited the undercover detectives posing as prostitutes and 17 other arrests were of people who profited from prostitution or other offenses, the press release states. They range from 16 to 74 years old.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said this is the most people the sheriff's office has ever arrested, Fox News reported. One of those arrested is Sgt. Luis Diaz. Diaz had been a sergeant with Judd's office for 17 years. He has since resigned.
"We are committed to fighting human trafficking, by arresting those who engage in prostitution and trying to identify human trafficking victims. It's no secret … you need to stay out of Polk County if you're going to commit crime," Judd said in the press release.
The suspects face a total of 334 charges – 298 misdemeanor and 36 felony. They include human trafficking, traveling to meet a child for sexual conduct, soliciting another for prostitution and offering to commit prostitution. The arrested suspects already had a combined prior history of 371 felony charges and 526 misdemeanor charges.
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