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By Daveda Gruber:

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, “We are committed to fighting human trafficking, by arresting those who engage in prostitution and trying to identify human trafficking victims. It’s no secret. You need to stay out of Polk County if you’re going to commit crime.”

It took a week to undercover a sex sting operation. Florida police arrested 277 people. This included doctors, cops and pharmacists under a sting named “Operation No Tricks, No Treats.” It began Oct. 10 and ran until Oct. 15. A press release from the Polk County Sherriff’s Office described the operation.

LAST CHANCE

To get inside the operation, undercover detectives and investigators from several law enforcement agencies posted false advertisements on websites, social media sites and phone apps posing as “prostitutes or to solicit sex workers.”

It was reported 209 of those arrested were accused of “soliciting undercover detectives.” The ‘Orlando Sentinel’ reported 51 others had presented themselves as prostitutes on the Internet. The office stated 17 others were arrested for other offenses.

Judd said, “That’s the most we have ever arrested in the history of the sheriff’s office.”

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One of the men arrested was a sergeant at Judd’s office. Sgt. Luis Diaz, who had been on the force for 17 years, resigned after the sting.

Judd said, “We are absolutely embarrassed. We hold our own accountable. He messed up and no longer works for the Sherriff’s Office.”

Judd identified some of the other suspects arrested as a cancer surgeon, teacher, pediatrician, Air Force veteran, retired deputy sheriff, retired police officer, active colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and several pharmacists. They range in age from 16 to 74 years old.

Suspects face 334 charges, including human-trafficking and soliciting another for prostitution.

The office affirmed 215 people traveled to Polk County from other areas in Florida or were visiting the state from Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

 


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