From Tuesday, November 27, through Sunday, December 2, 2018, Polk County Sheriff’s Office undercover detectives conducted a six day human trafficking and prostitution operation. Members conducted investigations focused on both prostitutes posting online advertisements as well as “johns” seeking prostitutes online.
In all, 103 suspects were arrested. 54 of the arrests were for those who advertise as prostitutes online. 29 of the arrests were those who solicited undercover detectives who posted ads posing as prostitutes. 13 other arrests were made of those who derive proceeds from prostitution and 7 were taken into custody for drug charges and other offenses.
Charges for those arrested include human trafficking, soliciting another for prostitution, offering to commit prostitution, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution, transporting to a building for prostitution, using a communication device to commit a felony, and drug charges.
Those arrested were charged with a total of 44 felonies and 130 misdemeanors.
Those arrested have a total of 368 previous felony and 483 misdemeanor arrests. 9 of the suspects told deputies they were married and 8 said they were receiving public assistance.
Detectives identified three females who could be possible human trafficking victims.
27-year-old Anthony Camacho was taken into custody for possession of cannabis and human trafficking. He has an extensive criminal history including attempted murder and kidnapping. Camacho drove a 17-year-old girl, who is a potential victim of human trafficking, to the location for her to have sex.
She told detectives she has paid him several times to give her a ride to meet Johns. She refers to Camacho as “King,” which is commonly the given name of a pimp. She was charged with drug charges and is listed as a runaway from Virginia. Detectives reached out to the group, One More Child, to begin services on her behalf.
Two other potential victims of human trafficking were also taken into custody.
One has been charged with Soliciting for prostitution and third potential victim has been charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
Detectives and social service organizations will work with the women to provide them services.
Also among the arrests is 26-year-old Edwin Lopez of Kissimmee. He engaged in conversation with whom he thought was a 14-year-old girl, but instead was talking to an undercover detective. Lopez asked her about her sexual experiences and arranged to meet her with the intent to sexually batter her.
Deputies took him into custody and charged him with using a 2-way communication device to commit a felony, traveling to meet a minor after using a computer to lure a child, and lewd battery.
Detectives also arrested 54-year-old Dr. Sarat Sabharwal of Winter Park for soliciting another for Prostitution. Sabharwal is an urologist at The VA Hospital in Orlando. He also works as a trauma surgeon when needed. He negotiated over the phone and via text to engage in a half hour of sex and agreed to pay 100 dollars for the service.
An IT Consultant is also among those who were taken into custody. 54-year-old Sriram Aswatharamaiah was arrested for soliciting another for prostitution. He is from Fort Worth, Texas and traveled to the location for sex. He asked an undercover detective to her to expose her breasts to prove she wasn’t a cop.
He was then taken into custody.
43-year-old Wallace Sheppard, a reservist in the U.S. Navy and 22-year-old Jeffery Tacy, a server at All Stars Movie Resort at Disney, were also arrested and charged with soliciting another for Prostitution.
Three of the suspects arrested, Walter Leiva, Juan Loaisa and Yefri Guevara, are in the country illegally and have all be charged with soliciting a prostitute.
Currently, detectives are looking for a traveler suspect who is at large.
49-year-old William Welch arrived near the location to have sex with a 14-year-old girl. Detectives found his vehicle in the area, but were unable to locate him. Welch is facing several charges, including Traveling to meet a minor, Using a 2-way communication device, Using a Computer to Solicit a Child and Attempted Lewd Battery.
Detectives worked closely with One More Child and the Department of Children and Families during the operation to provide services for identified or potential human trafficking victims.
During the operation, undercover detectives posted fictitious ads or profiles on various social media platforms, websites, and mobile phone applications, posing as prostitutes or those soliciting prostitutes. Some of the detectives responded to profiles and online ads posted by prostitutes. Despite the repeated warnings and media coverage of past operations, several suspects responded to the ads and drove to the location.
“We conduct these kinds of investigations because of the link between prostitution, human trafficking, drug crimes, economic crimes such as burglary and fraud, and violent crime. We have learned over many years that when we pay attention to public order and quality of life crimes such as prostitution, we can reduce and prevent other crimes while strengthening the community. Prostitution is not a victimless crime. From the spread of disease, destruction of families, and to the scourge of human trafficking, prostitution is bad for our community. In some cases, children and women are forced to prostitute while under the control of pimps. We remain committed to fighting human trafficking by arresting those who engage in prostitution and trying to identify human trafficking victims. Our goal is to change the lives of those who are feeling trapped in this horrific lifestyle.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
Suspects traveled from the following areas to an undercover location in Polk County: Orlando, Tampa, Haines City, Ocoee, Kissimmee, Leesburg, Lake Alfred, Coconut Creek, Brandon, Lake Wales, Sebring, Port Richey, and Altamonte Springs, Citrus Spring, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Davenport, Longwood, New Port Richey, Clermont, Deland, Miami, Ocala, Sanford, Winter Park, Fort Worth, Texas, Mineral, Virginia, Memphis, TN, Jackson, TN, Dothan, AL, Ozark, AL, Jackson, MS, Dacula, GA.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office Press Release
PCSO Undercover Detectives have arrested more than 100 suspects during an undercover investigation focusing on human trafficking.
Sheriff Grady Judd will brief the media Monday, December 3, at 1:00 p.m. at the PCSO Sheriff’s Operations Center, 1891 Jim Keene Blvd in Winter Haven, about the investigation.
Beginning on Tuesday, November 27, through Sunday, December 2, 2018, Polk County Sheriff’s office undercover detectives conducted a six day Human Trafficking operation. Members conducted investigations focused on both prostitutes posting online advertisements as well as “johns” seeking female prostitutes online.
In all, 103 suspects have been arrested.
Fifty-six of the arrests were for those who advertise as prostitutes online. Thirty of the arrests were those who solicited undercover detectives who posted ads posing as prostitutes. Eleven other arrests were made of those who derive proceeds from prostitution and six were taken into custody for drug charges and other offenses.
Charges for those arrested include soliciting another for prostitution, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution, transporting to building for prostitution and using a communication device to commit a felony.
Detectives worked closely with One More Child and the Department of Children and Families during the operation.
During the operation, undercover detectives posted fictitious ads or profiles on various social media platforms, websites, and mobile phone applications, posing as prostitutes or those soliciting prostitutes. Some of the detectives responded to profiles and online ads posted by prostitutes. Despite the repeated warnings and media coverage of past operations, several suspects responded to the ads and drove to the undisclosed undercover location.