25 suspected child predators arrested in Sarasota County sting

Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – More than two dozen people were arrested during a four-day sting operation across Sarasota County, which focused on protecting children from online predators and human trafficking, authorities said.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25 men between the ages of 19 and 65 on suspicion of solicitation, according to a news release.

Officials said the men responded to a number of ads posted online and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal conversations.

“Ultimately all 25 arrestees traveled with the intent of having sex with a male or female child,” the press release states.

According to deputies, one of the men rode a three-wheel bicycle to a home while in possession of cocaine. Another arrived at a home with two firearms and several narcotics.

Several others had sent explicit photos and brought condoms with them, according to deputies. One even tried to lure a child into his vehicle.

“Unfortunately, the internet allows for easy and anonymous access to children by strangers who are hiding behind a computer screen. That is why these operations are paramount to ensuring our most vulnerable population is safe and protected,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “The men arrested during this operation managed to blend into society and attempted to prey on children by developing a trust through promises to exploit them for sexual purposes. So long as men like these prey upon our community, I will ensure our ongoing commitment to putting them behind bars.”

According to the sheriff’s office, these suspects were arrested and charged with the following crimes:

  • Steven Aldacosta, 39, of Sarasota, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts.
  • Richard Antico, 32, of Lake Worth, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He reports he is employed as a food deliveryman.
  • Jose Ayala-Gil, 22, Sarasota, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He reports he is employed as a detailer at a Sarasota carwash. Ayala-Gil is a foreign-born resident with an alien registration and prior criminal history.
  • Georgios Bakomihalis, 27, Wimauma, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He reports he is employed as an Uber driver.
  • Nicholas Bonito, 19, of Bradenton, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts.
  • Arthur Byrne, 29, of Sarasota, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, and Possession of a MDMA.
  • Azis Casanas-Ramos, 19, of Sarasota, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts.
  • Joseph Cate, 33, of Bradenton, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He reports he is employed as a mechanic.
  • Maxwell Crain-Perrault, 19, of Bradenton, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts.
  • Andrew Crose, 26, of Venice, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, and Violation of Probation. He reports he works for a lawn care company.
  • Travis Deel, 39, of Jacksonville, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts and Transmission of Harmful Material. At the time of his arrest, Deel was enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a chief petty officer, scheduled to deploy the following day.
  • Michael Doran, 28, of Sarasota, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Transmission of Harmful Materials, Possession of Cocaine, and Violation of Probation. Doran rode his bicycle to the home while in possession of cocaine. He reports he is employed as a cook in Sarasota.
  • Jarred Durant, 25, of Riverview, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, and two counts of Possession of a Concealed Firearm. When Durant arrived to the home, he was in possession of two guns and various narcotics.
  • Constantin Fota, 27, of Lehigh Acres, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts.
  • Christopher Hamilton, 54 , of Sarasota, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Prostitution, and Commit to Offer Prostitution with Transmission of HIV. He reports he is employed at a car dealership in Sarasota.
  • Richard LaGace Sr., 65, of Bradenton, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, and Transmission of Harmful Material.
  • Omar Lazo, 22, of Tampa, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He reports he is employed as an electrician.
  • Pedro Lopez-Garcia, 31, of Palmetto, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, and three counts of Transmission of Harmful Materials. He is an illegal immigrant and reports he works as a handyman and roofer. Upon Lopez-Garcia’s arrest, deputies notified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) however, he was later released on bond.
  • Marcos Manuel-Juan, 23, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He is an illegal immigrant who reports he is employed as a fiberglass repairman. Manuel-Juan is currently in the custody of ICE.
  • Michael McBee, 34, of Bradenton, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He reports he is employed as a retail store manager in Ellenton. When McBee arrived to the home, he attempted to lure the child into his vehicle.
  • Douglas Mutschler, 38, of Venice, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, and Violation of Probation stemming from charges in 2017 in Seminole County for Travelling to Meet a Minor and Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors.
  • Austin Patterson, 23, of Bradenton, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He reports he is employed as a cook in Bradenton.
  • Joshua Rector, 24, of Punta Gorda, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts.
  • Geovany Rodriguez, 27, of Palmetto, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act and Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts. He reports he is employed at a pawnshop in Bradenton.
  • Juan Vazquez, 19, of Davenport, is charged with Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit a Sex Act, Travelling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, and Transmission of Harmful Material.

In a May news conference, Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight presented a graphic titled, “Nine Apps Parents Should Know About,” which identified some of the most dangerous apps for children. On Friday, he added six more apps to the list.

Here are the 15 apps parents should know about:

BUMBLE is similar to the popular dating app “Tinder,” however it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.

LIVE.ME is a live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn “coins” as a way to “pay” minors for photos.

ASK.FM is known for cyberbullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.

SNAPCHAT is one of the most popular apps of 2018. While the app promises users can take a photo/video and it will disappear, recent features including “stories” allows users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.

HOLLA is a self-proclaimed “addicting” video chat app that allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.

CALCULATOR% is only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.

KIK allows anyone to contact and direct message to your child. Kids can bypass traditional text messaging features. KIK gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

WHISPER is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.

HOT OR NOT encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The goal of this app is to hook up.

MEETME allows users to meet people nearby. The goal of the app is to introduce users to new friends instead of connecting them with old ones.

GRINDR is an app to connect gay, bisexual and bi-curious men and is used to find sexual partners and friends.

SKOUT is a dating app that connects people nearby and around the world.

WHATSAPP is available on phone all over the world. It allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other media.

TIKTOK is an app for creating and sharing various videos for entertainment, such as short lip-sync, comedy and talent videos.

BADOO is a dating and “social discovery” app that lets you find people from all over the world.

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