73.9 F
Winter Haven
Thursday, September 29, 2022

Latest Posts

Thirteen Suspects Arrested During Undercover Operation Focusing on Online Solicitation of Minors

Operation Cyber Guardian 2

Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested 13 men during a week long undercover operation “Operation Cyber Guardian 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. PCSO was assisted in the effort by police departments from Auburndale, Bartow, Davenport, and Tampa, as well as the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Office of the State Attorney 10th Judicial Circuit, State Attorney Brian Haas.

The suspects communicated with and solicited who they thought were children online. Eight suspects showed up at an undercover location in Polk County at separate times to meet who they thought were children, to sexually batter them. Detectives obtained warrants for five other suspects who were arrested and booked into jails in their respective counties. Three of the suspects believed they were speaking with a parent or guardian of a child who wanted to teach their “child” to have sex or arranging for the minor to have sex with the suspect.

In all, detectives arrested 13 suspects, who face a total of 41 felony and 3 misdemeanor chargeswhich include: traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and transmission of material harmful to a child. Two of the suspects told detectives they were married; two brought condoms; two brought illegal drugs.

Of the suspects who had warrants, all of them sent sexually explicit images and/or videos to who they thought were 13, 14, or 15-year-old girls, or 14-year-old boys. Two of the suspects are from another county and are in custody there, in Orange and Brevard counties.

“We will continue to conduct proactive operations like this to search out these evil predators before they get to our children. Thanks to the hard work of our detectives and the detectives in our partnering agencies, these 13 predators have been arrested. We are going hold them criminally accountable for their attempts to sexually abuse, groom, and corrupt our children. Parents please get all in your child’s business when it comes to their use of electronic devices that gives them access to online gaming, mobile applications, texting, or the internet. Check their devices regularly, and ensure parental controls are enabled to keep men like these away from your kids.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

In order of arrest:

25-year-old Andrew Lewis of Orlando

On August 31, 2022, Lewis engaged in an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy. During the conversation, the “boy” told Lewis several times that he was only 14. Lewis told the boy he still wanted to meet up and then graphically described the sex acts he wanted to perform. 

Lewis traveled to the undercover location expecting to have sex with the 14-year-old boy. He brought a condom with him.

He admitted to detectives he knew the person he was talking to was 14. He also told detectives he was employed as an audio/visual technician with Lockheed Martin.

He 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 possession of marijuana (M1)
  • One count possession of drug paraphernalia 

He was released after paying a $16,000 bond. 

46-year-old Matthew Bonjean of Hemet, CA

On September 1, 2022 Bonjean engaged in an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as the parent of a 1-year-old girl. Bonjean told the “mother” he liked “younger girls.” He then communicated with the “girl” telling her he wanted to “be sexual with a young girl.” Bonjean arranged to meet the “parent” and “14-year-old girl” to have sex with the minor.

When he arrived at the undercover location, Bonjean was arrested. He told detectives he was employed by Ziehm Imaging as a service technician and was attending a training in Orlando. 

He was taken to the Polk County Jail with the following charges:

  • One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)
  • One count soliciting a guardian for sex with a minor (F2)
  • One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)
  • One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

Bonjean is currently in the Polk County Jail and has a $40,000 bond.

27-year-old Nicholas Jenkins of Winter Garden

On September 1, 2022, Jenkins engaged in an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 15-year-old girl. During the conversation, Jenkins told the “girl” that he didn’t care about her age and described in detail the sex acts he wanted to perform. He arranged to meet the “girl” and have sex with her despite knowing she was fifteen.

When he arrived at the undercover location, Jenkins was arrested. He told detectives that he continued to communicate with the “girl” after he knew she was 15. 

He was taken to the Polk County Jail with the following charges:

  • One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)
  • One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)
  • One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

He was released after paying a $25,000 bond.

39-year-old John DeSarli, Jr. of Venice, FL

On September 2, 2022, DeSarli engaged in an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. During the conversation, DeSarli asked “How old are you Just be honest I don’t mind.” The “girl” told him she was 14 and asked if he was alright with her age. He replied, “Yes love Let’s make it happen” and described how he planned to engage in sex with the girl. He sent the undercover detective lewd photographs, despite knowing she was fourteen. 

DeSarli traveled to the undercover location to have sex with the “child” where he was arrested. Detectives found cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia in his vehicle. 

DeSarli admitted he had sexually explicit conversations with a 14-year-old. He also told detectives he is employed with Hotwire as an alarm technician and drove his assigned work van from Venice, Florida to the undercover location. 

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

  • One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)
  • One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)
  • Two counts transmitting harmful material to a minor (F3)
  • One count attempted lewd battery (F3)
  • One count possession of cocaine (F3)
  • One count possession of heroin
  • One count possession of drug paraphernalia 

He was released after paying a $25,500 bond.

52-year-old John Wesley Hunter of Davenport

On September 2, 2022, Hunter replied to an advertisement posted on an online dating site by an undercover detective posing as a mother wanting to introduce her 14-year-old daughter to sex. Hunter also communicated with the “daughter” graphically describing the sex acts he wanted to perform with the child. He sent the undercover detective lewd photographs of himself and arranged to meet and have sex with the 14-year-old child.

Hunter traveled to the undercover location where he was arrested. He admitted to detectives he knew he was communicating with a 14-year-old and to sending her a nude photograph of himself. Hunter told detectives he is employed with Budget Auto Parts as a mechanic.

He was taken to the Polk County Jail with the following charges:

  • One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)
  • One count soliciting a guardian for sex with a minor (F2)
  • One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)
  • One count attempted lewd battery (F3)
  • One count transmitting harmful material to a minor (F3)

He was released after paying a $27,000 bond.

35-year-old Juan Miguel Diaz of Kissimmee

On September 2, 2022, Diaz replied to an advertisement posted on an online dating site by an undercover detective posing as a mother wanting to introduce her 14-year-old daughter to sex. Diaz asked for the “daughter’s” phone number and began communicating with the 14-year-old. He described in detail the type of sex acts he wanted to perform on the child. Diaz then arranged to meet and have sex with the 14-year-old.

Diaz traveled to the undercover location where he was arrested. He told detectives he was employed by Linewize Limited as a service technician who installs firewalls and internet safety programs on computers in elementary, middle, and high schools to protect students from accessing inappropriate websites and online predators.   

Diaz was booked into the Polk County Jail with the following charges:

  • One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)
  • One count soliciting a guardian for sex with a minor (F2)
  • One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)
  • One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

He was released after paying a $26,000 bond.

39-year-old Juan Carlos Guzman of Hollywood, FL

On September 1, 2022 Guzman began an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. Guzman asked the undercover detective if she was looking for a “sugar daddy.” The conversation continued for three days and numerous times discussed her being a 14-year-old. He also sent her a lewd photograph of himself.

The next day, Guzman made arrangements to meet the “girl” telling her that he wanted to have sex and would teach her how to use a condom. He brought an entire box of condoms with him to the undercover location.

He told detectives he was employed by Memorial West Hospital in Pembroke Pines as a maintenance worker. He also said he was married and told his wife he was doing a side job as a painter when he traveled to Polk County. 

Guzman was booked into the Polk County Jail with the following charges:

  • One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)
  • One count transmitting harmful material to a minor (F3)
  • One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)
  • One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

Guzman is currently in the Polk County Jail and has a detainer hold for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

28-year-old Joshua Cummins of Davenport

On September 3, 2022 Cummins began an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. During the conversation he told the “girl” he wanted to play a game with her and the winner would get a sex act performed on them. Cummins arranged to meet the “girl.” 

Cummins traveled to the undercover location and was arrested. He told detectives he was employed as a construction subcontractor and was currently building a new rollercoaster at Disney.

Cummings was booked into the Polk County Jail with the following charges: 

  • One count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2)
  • One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3)
  • One count attempted lewd battery (F3)

He was released after paying a $18,000 bond.

WARRANT ARRESTS:

31-year-old Neri Banda of Lakeland

On August 31, 2022 Banda began an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy. He told the “boy” he had “a thing for younger guys.” Banda continued communicating with the “boy” on the Kik application asking the “boy” when they were going to have “their make out session.” The undercover detective reminded Banda that he was only 14; Banda said he didn’t mind.

Over a three-day period of time, Banda communicated with the undercover detective planning to meet the “boy” for sex.

Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and took him into custody on September 6. Banda admitted to detectives he had sexually explicit conversations with the “14-year-old.” He also told detectives he sent a pornographic image to the “boy” of two men engaged in sex.

Banda told detectives he is employed with Amazon as an inventory selector at the warehouse in Auburndale. Additionally, Banda thought detectives were at his residence because of a Hillsborough County warrant for his arrest.  

Banda was taken to the Polk County Jail with the following charges:

  • One count transmitting harmful material to a minor (F3)
  • One count using computer to solicit a child for sex
  • VOP Hillsborough County (reckless driving)

After paying a $2,000 bond on the Polk County charges, Banda was transferred to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

28-year-old Michael Hojewski III of Lakeland

On August 29, 2022 Hojewski began an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. When the “girl” told Hojewski she was only 14, he told her “it’s fine,” and sent her several nude photos of himself. During the next few days, he continued the conversation and explicitly described the sex acts he wanted to perform on the child. 

Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and took him into custody on September 6. He admitted to detectives that he had sexually explicit conversations with the “14-year-old” and had sent three nude images of himself to her. 

Hojewski was taken to the Polk County Jail with the following charges: 

  • Three counts transmitting harmful material to a minor (F3)
  • One count using computer to solicit a child for sex

Hojewski is currently in the Polk County Jail and has a $4,000 bond.

30-year-old Luis Velazquez of Haines City

On August 29, 2022 Velazquez began an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 15-year-old girl. The “girl” told Velazquez she was only 15, knowing this, Velazquez described the sex acts he wanted to perform on the child. 

The next day, he continued the conversation with the “child” and arranged to meet the minor. He did not show up, but later contacted the “girl” saying he got “scared.” He then sent the “girl” two nude photos of himself. 

Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and took him into custody on September 7. Velazquez admitted to detectives that he had sexually explicit conversations with the “15-year-old” and had sent two nude images of himself to her. 

Velazquez was taken to the Polk County Jail with the following charges: 

  • Two counts transmitting harmful material to a minor (F3)
  • One count using computer to solicit a child for sex

He was released after paying a $3,000 bond.

42-year-old Kevin Sanders of Winter Garden

On August 29, 2022 Sanders began an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. The “girl” told Sanders she was only 13, knowing this, Sanders described the sex acts he wanted to perform on the child. 

Sanders told the “girl” they would “have to be careful” because of her age. 

Sanders has engaged online with undercover detectives he believed to be children for several years, always ending his communication before actually traveling to meet who he believed was a minor for sex. During this investigation, detectives were able to identify Sanders and obtained a warrant for his arrest.

On September 7th, Sanders was arrested at his place of employment (Disney) by the PCSO detectives, FDLE agents, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Sanders admitted to detectives that he had sexually explicit conversations with the “14-year-old.” He also said he had been doing this for years and that communicating online with underage children was his “addiction.”  Sanders told detectives he is employed by Disney as a roving IT support specialist. Prior to that he was a member of Disney’s YES Program (Youth Education Series) which offers accredited educational opportunities for students age 5-18. He also told detectives that he is married and has two young children.

He was booked into the Orange County Jail and charged with:

  • One count transmitting harmful material to a minor (F3)

One count using computer to solicit a child for sex

33-year-old Matthew Silva of Melbourne

On August 29, 2022 Silva began an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. The “girl” told Silva she was only 14, knowing this, Silva described the sex acts he wanted to perform on the child. 

Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and, with the assistance of FDLE and Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, took him into custody on September 8 at Publix where he is employed as a bagger in Melbourne. He admitted to detectives that he had sexually explicit conversations with the “14-year-old” and sending a nude photo of himself to the minor. 

Silva booked into the Brevard County Jail and charged with: 

  • One count transmitting harmful material to a minor (F3)

One count using computer to solicit a child for sex

Latest Posts

- Advertisement -

Don't Miss

- Advertisement -