TAVARES, Fla. – They thought they were traveling to have sex with who they thought were young children. Instead, they were met by grown law enforcement officers and arrested.
More than a dozen suspects were taken into custody during a week-long undercover operation by the Lake County sheriff’s Cyber Crimes Unit that targeted those going online attempting to meet children for sexual activity.
The operation, dubbed Treasure Florida’s Kids II, resulted in 14 arrests for various sex-related crimes, according to a press release issued Wednesday morning by the sheriff’s office.
“We’re just trying to protect our most vulnerable assets, our children,” said sheriff’s spokesman Lt. John Herrell, during an interview Wednesday morning.
He said those arrested were mostly from Lake County, but the list included a Universal Studios cook and an Orange County instructor.
Herrell said that detectives conducted the operation from their office, during which time they posed online as a 13-, 14-, or 15-year-old child.
Herrell said he couldn’t identify the locations that the undercover detectives met the suspects, but added they were mostly in the Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares area.
Some of the suspects brought condoms and alcoholic beverages with them.
Three vehicles were seized in the operation.
One suspect was arrested at his home after soliciting the detective.
The suspects arrested were Bernard Baden, Charles Morgan II, Christian Aviles-Rivera, Habib Sebaiha, Jason Sellards, John Wright, Joshua Acevedo, Juan Estrada, Kenneth Fuller, Matthew Kinney, Samuel Fontanez, Singillyon Burgess, Stacey Ely and Jamie Ziegler.
The operation also included officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other member agencies of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.