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Operation Child Protector II A Success After Arresting 12 Individuals Deemed Deviant’s, Predators & Perverts By Polk County Sheriff

Beginning June 2, 2022, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Auburndale Police Department, and Winter Haven Police Department detectives conducted a two-week-long undercover operation “Operation Child Protector II” during which detectives posed as children on social media platforms, mobile apps, and online dating sites to investigate those who prey upon and travel to meet children for unlawful sexual activity. 

The suspects communicated with and solicited who they thought were children online. Four suspects showed up to an undercover location in Polk County at separate times to meet who they thought were children, to sexually batter them. 

Detectives obtained warrants for eight other suspects who were arrested and booked into jails in their respective counties. Additional suspects were charged via warrant after transmitting pornographic images and/or grooming and soliciting the children online; they are still at-large in Florida and detectives are actively looking for them.

In all, detectives arrested 12 suspects, who face a total of 49 felony charges. Their combined criminal histories include 22 felonies and 31 misdemeanor charges. The youngest suspect arrested is 20 years old, and the oldest suspect is 67 years old.

Of the suspects who traveled to the location to have sex with a child, one suspect brought condoms, one has a criminal history, and two told detectives they were married. They were all from the central Florida area.

Of the suspects who had warrants, all of them sent sexually explicit images and/or videos to who they thought were 13, 14, and 15-year-old girls. Two of the suspects are from out of state and are in custody there, in Michigan and Alabama. Three of these suspects have criminal histories.

TRAVELING TO MEET A MINOR ARRESTS:

1. 67-year-old Lawrence Neu of Lakeland, FL. On June 2, 2022, Neu engaged in an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. The communication continued via a mobile texting app. The “girl” repeatedly reminded Neu that she was only 13, to which Neu replied it was okay with him. Neu told the girl he was 46-years-old. He asked several questions about her sexual experience and described the sex acts he wanted to do to her, including taking her virginity. He sent nude photos and a video of himself while, according to Neu, his wife was in the other room. His criminal history includes a previous DUI arrest.

Neu was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

·        One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)

·        One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

·        Four counts transmission of material harmful to minor (F3)

·        One count use of a computer to seduce a child – enhanced (F3)

·        One count use of a computer to misrepresent age and seduce a child (F2)

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office was also investigating Neu during a similar undercover investigation during the same time frame. They have charged him via warrant with nine counts transmission of material harmful to a minor; one count use of a computer to seduce a child; and one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony. He’s being held in the Polk County Jail and will be transferred to Citrus at a later date.

2. 62-year-old Francis “Frank” Butler of Palm Beach Gardens, FL. On June 3, 2022, Butler engaged in an online conversation using a screen name “Orlando Grandad” on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. They exchanged phone numbers and also texted. The “girl” told Butler that she was only 13, to which Butler replied “LOVE that you are” and asked her if “it was an issue” that he’s married. He told the girl that he used to live in the area and is now here visiting for a month. He told her he wanted to hang out with her and commit sex acts with her. Before coming to meet her, he said “Waiting for wife to go to bed then I need your address!” When he arrived at the undercover location he was taken into custody without incident.

Butler was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

·        One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)

·        One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

3. 26-year-old Zachary Clark of Tampa, FL. On June 5, 2022, Clark engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 15-year-old girl. He asked that they continue the conversation on Snapchat, where he repeatedly asked her to send him selfies and told her the things he wanted to do to her sexually. Clark then called the “girl” on the phone and continued the conversation about sex. He arrived at the undercover location where he was taken into custody without incident. He brought a condom. He told detectives that he’s employed as a Brinks armed security guard, and that he is in the Army National Guard. 

Clark was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

·        One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)

·        One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

·        One count use of a computer to seduce a child (F3)

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

4. 26-year-old Timothy King of Clermont, FL. On June 6, 2022, King engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective posing as a 15-year-old girl. The conversation moved to text messaging, during which King told her he was okay with her being 15 if she was okay with him being 26. He discussed what he wanted to do with her sexually, and that he would make sure she didn’t get pregnant. He asked her if she had money to take an Uber to his house (she said no). He then told her he would ride his bike to the undercover location, which he did. Once he arrived he waited outside and texted her asking if there were cameras, and if she could come outside and meet him.

King was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

·        One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)

·        One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

WARRANT ARRESTS:

5. 30-year-old Zachary Hudson of Reunion, FL. From June 4th to 5th, Hudson engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective posing as a 15-year-old girl. The detective asked Hudson if he was okay with her being 15, and he replied that he was as long as “my being older doesn’t bother you” and later told her that “age is just a number.” The conversation moved to text messaging, during which he described the things he wanted to do to her sexually and told her that he would be “honored” to take her virginity. He told the girl, and the detectives upon his arrest, that he’s employed by Walt Disney World as a bus driver. He sent her a nude picture of himself. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and he was taken into custody in Orlando and booked into the Orange County Jail with the following charges: 

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

·        One count transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)

6. 33-year-old Christopher Sean Velez of Devonshire Road in Tampa, FL. On June 3, 2022, Velez began engaging in online conversations with an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl. During the conversations when the girl told Velez she was 14 and asked him if that was bad, he said, “no that’s good” and “age does not matter.” He said, “I love that you’re 14 even if you were younger omg even sexier lol.” He discussed what he wanted to do to her sexually, and sent her nude photos of himself. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and he was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on June 8, 2022, charged with:

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

·        Three counts transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)

7. 57-year-old Michael Occhino of Dromedary Court in Kissimmee, FL. Occhino had sexually explicit conversations with three different undercover detectives posing as 13- and 14-year-old girls. He told all three girls he wanted them to have his babies, and he loved how young they were. His online profile states he is looking for “real young real girls who have baby fever and want to breed for real.” He sent nude photos to one of the girls. He told one of the girls to walk away from her house where her mother was, and wait for him to come and pick her up. He has a criminal history including previous arrests by PCSO for battery, battery domestic violence, transporting hazardous materials, and DWLSR. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and he was arrested on June 9, 2022, for:

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

·        Three counts transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)

·        One count interference with custody (F3)

8. 66-year-old George Elec Matthews of Owens Street in Ozark, Alabama. Matthews began chatting with an undercover detective posing as a 13-year-old girl on June 4, 2022. He told her his name (Elec) and that he was 58 years old and “old enough to be her grandfather.” He sent two nude photos to her and told her he wanted to come visit her in Florida after he “got some stuff straight” in Alabama. He told her that he works for a military contractor supporting helicopter flight training. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and he was taken into custody on June 9, 2022, in Dale County, Alabama. He is being charged with:

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

·        Two counts transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)

9. 20-year-old Nando Castellar of Illustration Drive in Orlando, FL. Castellar began chatting with an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl on June 4, 2022, and sent her a nude photo. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and he was taken into custody in Orlando on June 10, 2022. He’s being charged with:

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

·        One count transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)

10. 43-year-old Johnny Hughley of 29thStreet SW in Lehigh Acres, FL. Hughley began chatting with an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl on June 5, 2022, and immediately began a sexually inappropriate conversation; he told her he liked young girls, asked her what sexual things she would let him do to her, including having sex with two men at once, and asked her if she had a friend her age who would also want to have sex with him. He sent her a nude photo. He has an extensive criminal history in Lee County dating back to 2003, for charges such as battery, sale of cocaine, possession of cocaine and marijuana, destruction of evidence, failure to appear, and probation violation. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and he was taken into custody in Lee County on June 15, 2022. He’s being charged with:

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

·        One count transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)

11. 40-year-old Roger Dennis Fleury of Clinton Avenue in Saint Clair, Michigan. Fleury began chatting with an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl on June 6, 2022. He repeatedly told her how excited he was that she was so young. He said “baby, I love you’re so young and I get to teach you things about sex you don’t know its making me tingle all over!” He sent her a nude photos, and links to four different pornographic videos. He instructed her on how to delete the photos from her phone so nobody would know. He has an extensive criminal history, with previous arrests in Michigan, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Tennessee, including assault, fleeing police, public intoxication, and traffic charges. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and he was taken into custody in St. Clair, MI, on June 15, 2022. He’s being charged with:

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

·        Five counts transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)

12. 26-year-old Cameron Ohlin of Fitzpatrick Drive in Tallahassee, FL. Ohlin began chatting online with an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl on June 5, 2022. He called her “baby girl” and referred to himself as “daddy.” He sent her several sexually explicit pornographic photos and videos while describing sex acts he wanted her to perform. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and he was taken into custody in Leon County (FL) on June 16, 2022. He’s being charged with:

·        One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)

· Six counts transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)

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