Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd spelled out details of the two-week sting, which started on May 18, at a Tavares news conference surrounded by large boards filled with suspects' mug shots.
Seventy-nine people were busted in the prostitution operation and 22 in the child-sex sting, officials said."Central Florida is now a safer place today because of the efforts of our deputies," Borders said.
Nineteen of the arrests from the week-long joint investigation were for men traveling to meet a minor for sex, according to a news release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Nineteen other arrests were related to online prostitution.“These predators are really out there, trying to violate children,” said Sheriff Grady Judd in the release.
Investigators worked to establish rapport with subjects and developed cases where they arranged to meet with for the purpose of sexual activity.
One after another, they walked into a sparsely furnished house in Clermont, Fla., expecting to find a 10- or 12- or 14-year-old girl. Again and again, sheriff’s deputies burst into the living room and arrested the men for soliciting sex with a minor.
Those arrested range in age from 20 to 47 and were arrested on various charges.
A Polk County Sheriff's Office investigation targeting child predators and online prostitution led to the arrest of 39 suspects.
One identified himself as a nurse at a local hospital.
Another, Timothy Allen, is listed as a registered sex offender who either pled guilty to or was convicted of - lewd or lascivious molestation, victim 12-15 years old, offender 18 or older in 2000; lewd or lascivious battery, victim 12-15 years old in 2006.