TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County deputies arrested 32 men, including a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant posted in Tampa, during an undercover operation aimed at catching criminals who attempt to prey on minors.

In January and March 2023, Hillsborough County detectives worked undercover, entering online chats and, in two cases, placed a fictitious ad posing as a father soliciting a child online.

In one such case, deputies arrested 31-year-old U.S. Air Force staff sergeant Jacob Dwayne Reid, who thought he was contacting a 15-year-old girl. Instead, deputies said he was speaking with undercover detectives, who arrested him at a Tampa hotel, where he was staying while on temporary duty at MacDill Air Force Base.

“There is no greater disappointment than the betrayal of a man who was sworn to protect our nation,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what title you hold; no one is above the law. If you enter Hillsborough County and intend to take advantage of our children, you will be arrested.”

Detectives also arrested 36-year-old Muntasir Shafiq, of Lutz, who was charged in 2021 with 30 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor.

“This wasn’t a mistake, and this wasn’t a lapse of judgment,” Chronister said. “This man has repeatedly tried to engage in sexual activity with children. His intentions are equally as vile and depraved as his messages to our detectives.”

Shafiq now faces several more charges, including the transmission of harmful material to a minor and unlawful use of a two-way communications device.

In a message to would-be criminals considering engaging with minors, Chronsiter said, “as Sheriff, I can assure you, teamHCSO and I are committed to keeping our community, especially our children, safe. Those who wish to victimize others in such a shameless manner are not welcome in Hillsborough County. They will not get away with such despicable crimes.”