ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — At least eight men were arrested on human trafficking charges in St. Petersburg thanks to an undercover operation over the weekend, according to police.
Arrest documents said that St. Petersburg Police’s Regional Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force began investigating adults who were using the internet to solicit sex with child prostitutes.
St. Petersburg police said that the suspects would respond to an online advertisement and begin texting an undercover detective, asking to have sex with 13-year-old or 14-year-old girls.
The suspects would meet the undercover detective at a location at various times to facilitate the deals, according to the affidavits. The interactions would then be recorded on audio and video by the officer.
The affidavits, which were released Tuesday, named eight men arrested in the sting, including a Hillsborough County detention deputy. Sunday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced that Deputy Marvin Vasquez, 24, would be suspended without pay after his arrest.
“I am extremely disappointed that an individual who took an oath to serve and protect is now facing charges related to such egregious behavior,” Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said Sunday.
The other seven suspects include:
- Landon Blacker Neil, 36, of St. Petersburg
- Kyle Christopher Harris, 24, of Clearwater
- Saul Mejay-Pedraza, 23, of Clearwater
- Antonio Mezquite-Mejay, 36, of Clearwater
- Justin James Nouhan, 36, of St. Petersburg
- Luis Missael Rodriguez-Soso, 27, Jacksonville
- Wilson Venture, 31, of unknown address (Affidavits named his place of birth as Guatemala)
The suspects were arrested on charges of human trafficking and unlawful use of two-way communication device.