CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office arrested 10 people, including one previous sex offender, after an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children operation, deputies announced Wednesday.
Named Operation Cyber Knights, the goal was to catch cyber predators who were trying to engage in sexual activity with a child.
Deputies said they exchanged online messages with the suspects, posing undercover as either a 13 or 14-year-old girl or boy.
Even while acknowledging the ages of the child they thought they were talking to, the suspects started sexually explicit conversations and outlined different sexual activities they hoped to perform with the child.
“Parents – predators know how susceptible and trusting our children are,” Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. “They also know just how easy it is to gain access to your children and exploit them through the internet. The disgusting and sexually deviant behaviors these predators displayed in their online chats are monstrous.”
The following people were arrested as part of the operation:
- Christopher Covyaw, 49, Inverness, FL
- Dustin Warlick, 34, Inverness, FL
- Fabricio Oswaldo Aguilar Beccera, 41, Ocala, FL
- Kenneth Hottes, 43, Ocala, FL
- Bruce William Henderson Jr., 50, Brooksville, FL
- Harold Wilfred Carver III, 45, Orlando, FL
- Timothy Brown, 53, Ponte Vedra, FL
- Lawrence Neu, 67, Lakeland, FL
- Justin Rampe, 38, Williston, FL
- Phillip Simpson, 26, Anthony, FL
The United States Marshals Service Florida/Caribbean Fugitive Task Force (USMS FCFTF), the United States Secret Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota Police Department, and the Longwood Police Department were all also part of the operation.