CITRUS COUNTY, Fla – Today, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s (CCSO) High Tech Crimes Unit (HTCU) is releasing the results of Operation Lucky Strike, a tactical undercover Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) operation to apprehend dangerous cyber predators who attempted to engage in sexual activity with a child.
Over the course of this operation, officials from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, along with our partners at the United States Secret Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tavares Police Department, worked collaboratively to capture these online child sex predators.
During the operation, law enforcement officials posed as minors on various websites waiting to be solicited through online messages by these subjects.
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Despite acknowledging the child’s age, these individuals still chose to send sexually explicit pictures, messages and detailed requests of various sexual activities they wanted to perform with the child.
Some had driven over an hour thinking they were meeting a minor to engage in sexual activity, but were luckily greeted by law enforcement personnel. In total, twelve arrests were made as a result of this operation.
“These abhorrent and sick individuals prey upon children for their own perverted benefit. These individuals knowingly send vile and sexually explicit messages to minors online, and even travel hours to meet up with a child with the intention to carry out these repulsive acts if not something worse,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Preying on children is absolutely despicable. I am incredibly proud of the extraordinary partnership between our agency and the law enforcement agencies who assisted us in bringing these monsters to justice and off of our streets. If operations like “Lucky Strike” takes only one predator off of the streets, it is a success. We’ve stopped 12 immoral criminals this time, so we deem “Lucky Strike” a huge success.”
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