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5 Men Arrested in Online Sting Operation

COVID-19 has changed the lives of all Americans. People are staying home more. Kids are unable to attend school in person and engage in sports and other activities. This means they are spending more time at home on computers and other electronic devices. Navigating the online world is no safe, though, and many kids fall victim to sex crimes.

Because of this, Florida law enforcement officials recently set up a sting operation to catch online sex offenders. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office orchestrated an online sex sting and arrested five men.

The five men were arrested as part of the sting, called “Operation Illicit Solicit.” It started on August 5 and featured undercover detectives who posed as 14-year-old children.

One man is 35 years old and from Daytona Beach. He came to the United States on a crew member visa. The man, an Indian national, was charged with online solicitation of a child as well as using a two-way communication device to commit a felony. He is currently at Volusia County Branch Jail without bail. He is also detained for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A 29-year-old man was also arrested. He is a repeat offender who has chatted to undercover agents in previous online sex stings not once, but twice before. He was first arrested in 2018 when he attempted to meet who he thought was a 15-year-old girl. At the time, he was charged with traveling to meet a minor. A year later, he was caught again chatting with undercover detectives once again. He didn’t learn his lesson and was caught once again in this current sting operation. He was arrested for violating his pretrial release conditions.

A 32-year-old man from Astor was also arrested during the sting operation. He was charged with traveling to meet a minor and using a computer to seduce a child. He is also facing charges for using a two-way communication device to commit a felony and attempted lewd or lascivious battery. He is currently in jail with bail set at $65,000.

One man was arrested in Daytona Beach Shores. The 33-year-old man was on conditional release after killing a patient at a psychiatric hospital in 2007. The man faces several charges, including traveling to meet a minor, use of a computer to seduce a child, committing a felony by using a two-way communication device and attempted lewd or lascivious battery. He is currently in jail without bail.

A 31-year-old man from DeLand was arrested on several charges. His crimes include traveling to meet a minor, using a computer to seduce a child, driving with a revoked license, attempted lewd or lascivious battery and using a two-way communication device to commit a felony. Bail has been set at $62,500.

Contact a Legal Professional for Help

Predatory behavior is on the rise as children are spending more time on computers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida law enforcement officials are taking steps to combat this behavior, so those who are caught will face serious penalties.

The good news is that there are viable defenses to sex crimes and Florida sex offense attorney Gilbert A. Schaffnit can help. Get the outcome you deserve. Call our office at (352) 505-1799 or fill out the online form to schedule a free confidential consultation.




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