A father who told his wife he was going out to buy his kids Christmas presents. A future father who left his pregnant wife, due that day, at home. A man expecting a sexual rendezvous with a 14-year-old girl. A man expecting the same with a 14-year-old boy.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says those are four of the 114 people arrested in “Operation Not So Silent Night,” a Dec. 8-13 sting operation that featured undercover officers taking on the roles of prostitute, customer or potential juvenile sex victim online.
The arrested included 51 men as prostitution customers and 50 on prostitution charges. As for the goal of disrupting human trafficking, five men arrested were charged with deriving support from prostitution. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the department found four potential victims of human trafficking, the most his agency has identified in such a sting operation.
“If that’s all that occurred out of that operation, it would be a huge success,” Judd said.
Judd pointed to the social services involved in the sting operation and said, “We are immediately turning our potential victims of human traffickers over to social services even at the undercover location.”
51 arrested on charges related to being a prostitution customer
Two other men, Debraione Fulmore and Travis Mays, have warrants out for pimping. Each evaded arrest after allegedly dropping off a prostitute. Mays also is looking at aggravated battery and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer from actions as he escaped capture.
“Mays is the one who traveled armed with a .40-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber handgun and this AK-47-style rifle,” Judd said during a news conference, holding up the weapon. “He’s 29 in the company of a 17-year-old who is HIV positive.”
There’s a $5,000 reward for tips leading to their capture via Crime Stoppers, 800-226-8477 or the website.
5 men arrested on charges of being a pimp
4 human trafficking victims the Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says they found in the sting, their highest number for a sting.
Some of the arrested were caught on video, such as Matthew Irvin of St. Cloud. In video released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and shown by Orlando’s WFTV-Channel 9, Irvin can be seen groping an undercover officer’s breast. Irvin, cops say, was supposed to be shopping for his kids’ Christmas presents.
“I can assure Matthew there’s nothing his children want or need at the location he was shopping,” Judd said.
Kissimmee’s Erik Hernandez told detectives he hurt his back setting up his 9-year-old daughter’s birthday party and was just looking for a massage, Judd said. “Well, I know birthday parties for 9-year-olds can be stressful. But I don’t think soliciting sex is the proper stress relief.”
The Polk Sheriff’s Office charged Massachusetts’ Thomas Davis, a 48-year-old photographer, with five felonies: use of a computer to seduce a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, traveling to meet a minor, transmission of harmful material to a minor and lewd battery.
Davis is accused of driving to an undercover location expecting to engage in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl to whom he had sent nude photos of himself during an online conversation. The 14-year-old girl was an adult undercover detective, just like the 14-year-old boy that Haines City’s Oscar Gonzalez allegedly thought he was meeting for sex.
Gonzalez also will meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Detectives say he is in the United States illegally from Mexico.