The Polk County sheriff’s office is celebrating this week after a week-long undercover operation led to the arrest of 277 people for the illegal solicitation of sex.
The undercover mission, named “Operation No Tricks, No Treats,” ran from Oct. 10 to Oct. 15 and involved detectives going undercover as prostitutes online. The false advertisements they posted drew responses from 209 individuals, who were arrested for “soliciting undercover detectives.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported that 51 other individuals were booked for displaying themselves as prostitutes on the internet and 17 others were arrested for other offenses.
“That’s the most we have ever arrested in the history of the sheriff’s office,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Embarrassing for the office was the fact that one of the responders to its fake advertisement was none other than Polk County Sheriff Sgt. Luis Diaz, who had been on the force for 17 years.
“We are absolutely embarrassed,” Judd said. “We hold our own accountable. He messed up and no longer works for the sheriff’s office.”
The arrested range in age from 16 to 74 years old and include a cancer surgeon, teacher, pediatrician, Air Force veteran, retired deputy sheriff, retired police officer, an active colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and several pharmacists.
“We are committed to fighting human trafficking, by arresting those who engage in prostitution and trying to identify human trafficking victims,” Judd said. “It’s no secret. You need to stay out of Polk County if you’re going to commit crime.”
— Polk County Sheriff (@PolkCoSheriff) October 17, 2017
— Melissa Marino (@WFLAMelissaM) October 17, 2017
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