In the latest operation to bust individuals soliciting sex from minors, Florida law enforcement announced this week that they have arrested over a dozen people, including several Disney World employees, on felony charges.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced during a press conference on Wednesday that 17 total arrests were made, which included three Disney employees, in “Operation Child Protector.”
To conduct the child sex sting operation during between July 27 and Aug. 1, officers went undercover to pose as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media platforms and online dating apps to lure sex offenders, the New York Post reported.
Suspects are being charged with 48 total felonies as well as two misdemeanors for soliciting sex from children and sending explicit videos to them.
The suspects arresting during the six-day undercover operation were from the Florida cities of Clewiston, Davenport, Kissimmee, Orlando, Polk City, and Zephyrhills, according to WFLA. One suspect was a visitor from Los Angeles.
Sheriff Judd slammed the suspects as “nasty people” who illegally try to engage young children in disturbing sex acts.
“These are nasty, nasty, nasty people, and when we go through this, understand that obviously, we can’t even use the words they used,” Judd said, according to WFLA. “We obviously can’t show you the pictures and the video clips that they sent to what they thought were 13-year-old little girls and little boys.”
“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Judd continued. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”
“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children,” he added, praising officers’ arrests.
Although no federal agents were involved in busting the 17 suspects, the Auburndale, Orlando, and Winter Haven Police Departments and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office collaborated in the effort to take down child predators, making the children of Florida that much safer.