Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oddly enough, none of the men arrested were registered sex offenders.

32 Arrested In Child Sex Sting Operation

Undercover detectives went online posing as children or the parents of children trolling for sex. Police said 32 men showed up at a house looking for sex and some brought gifts and candy, all of them were not registered sex offenders.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office held a press conference on Tuesday to announce the arrests and show what they said were the faces of men who want to have sex with children.

"Honestly, I was a little surprised at the number," said Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders.

Detectives said the 32 men traveled to a vacation home that the Lake County Sheriff's Office rented in the Four Corners area. Each of the men was expecting to have sex with a child. One man came all the way from Georgia with two young children of his own in the car, detectives said.

"It's bad enough he's driving to Lake County to meet with what he thinks is a child to have sex with, but to bring his own children with him. The best place for him is jail," said Borders.

The youngest man arrested was 19 and the oldest 63. Every one of the men were considered dangerous, which is why the sheriff's office said they had plenty of manpower during the take downs.

"We're just trying to make a safe arrest. One of the suspects had a gun in his pants," said Borders.

Each time a suspect came to the door of the home, detectives said they were waiting inside and during the operation things got very busy.

"At some points, they had three or four members sitting in cuffs on the floor of the home trying to get them processed and taken out before others showed up. So, it was very much a difficult operation to pull off," said a lieutenant of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Borders said his cyber crimes team has been in place for a few years, but this is the unit's largest sting. While the 32 men were essentially tricked by detectives, Borders said that trolling for sex with children is very real.

"I would tell you that there is that type of real activity going on on the Internet," said Borders.

Detectives said some of the suspects are in jail on Tuesday night and they all face felony charges. The men could receive a maximum of 25 years in prison if convicted.

Oddly enough, none of the men arrested were registered sex offenders.

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