HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – Sheriff Chad Chronister, in a press conference Thursday, announced ‘Operation Social Bust’ that ran from September 29th through October 2nd and involved detectives using fake social media accounts posing as teenage girls, and boys. 4-Days. 22 Arrrested.
In September, an undercover detective posing as a 15-year-old girl came in contact with Flor-Adam Brandon Cruz, 24, on social media when Cruz initiated a conversation. Cruz is a high-risk sex offender who is already on felony probation until 2032 for battery on a minor.
Sheriff Chronister said, “Some of the individuals we encountered even traveled to Hillsborough County to carry out their despicable acts.”
One of the 22 individuals arrested is facing a charge of human trafficking for soliciting paid sex with a minor.
Christopher Lalley, 33, offered $125 for a teenager to have sex with him. He traveled from St Petersburg to meet the 14-year-old girl. During his arrest, detectives found cash, condoms, and alcohol in his possession.
Darroll Roberts drove from Clearwater On September 29 to meet a who he thought was a 13-year-old girl. While chatting, Roberts, who is 26 years old, told the girl he was 19. When taken into custody, detectives located condoms in his pocket as well.
In a statement to the public, Sheriff Chronister said, “Education is a critical component of our strategy and with Super Bowl 55 rapidly approaching we have also increased our awareness campaign and how to protect children. and to identify the signs of human trafficking. Finally, our message to parents. Protecting children online and preserving their innocence is a shared responsibility and involves law enforcement, our community, and you. Be mindful of what your child is doing online and who they are talking to. And take the necessary steps to educate your child to prevent these online predators from taking their innocence. When it comes to children being online, there is no such thing as being too overprotective as a parent.”