LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A week-long operation by the Lake County Sheriff's Cyber Crime Unit targeting individuals seeking children online for sex resulted in 22 arrests.
During Operation Be Mine, detectives posed as children, or parents of children, in online chat forums.
Individuals then solicited the detectives for sex and arrangements were made to meet at a vacant home in Clermont for what they believed would result in sex with a child, according to a release.
As the suspects arrived at the home, they were taken into custody, authorities said.
Investigators said 47-year-old David Griffith of Minneola told them he had been recently making plans to meet a 7-year-old for sex in another county.
Conversations between Griffith and the child's mother were found in his email that supported his claim. Law enforcement in that area launched an investigation and the child was located.
According to a news release, it was determined that the mother of the 7-year-old had sexually abused her. An investigation is still ongoing.
Deputies said an Orange County Fire Rescue paramedic brought latex gloves when he arrived at the home where he thought he was meeting a 16-year-old.
Belal Shofique, 33, is charged with soliciting a child for sexual acts, traveling to meet a minor and procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution.
Patrick Holgerson, 32, Joel Torres, 32, and Robert Kingsolver, 49, all listed their employer as Walt Disney World.
Investigators said Torres brought condoms to the home where he thought he was meeting a 14-year-old. He is charged with soliciting a child for sexual acts, traveling to meet a minor and attempted lewd and lascivious battery.
Holgerson faces several charges including failing to disclose HIV status to a sexual partner.
According to deputies, Tyler Edge brought a knife and condoms, while Alexander Vorobets brought a Happy Meal from McDonald's and condoms to meet children under the age of 15.
Three vehicles were seized during the operation.