A huge sex sting results in nineteen men, including four from Polk County, charged with traveling to meet minors for sex. The undercover operation involved detectives communicating with people online who wanted sex with children.
In total 39 suspects will face a total of 126 charges from the sting that involved numerous agencies from throughout the state. Some of the charges include attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, possession of child pornography and more.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said detectives posed as teens and parents of teens throughout the undercover investigation. The detectives posted advertisements and made fake profiles on social media to lure men.
Suspects believed some of the children were as young as 10. According to the Ledger, some of the suspects even sent inappropriate photos of themselves and asked for nude pictures of the children.
The 19 men facing serious charges actually traveled to a house to follow through with online promises. The Polk County men that drove to the minors are Alan John Lovejoy, 41, of Lakeland; Michael Grove, 26, of Davenport; Juan Carlos Castro, 35, of Lakeland; and Reginald Donnell Neal, 20, of Haines City.
Other suspects involved drove to Polk County from Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa. The youngest suspect arrested was 19.