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Lawyers and police sergeant among 277 people arrested in prostitution sting in Florida

By Mason White 8:31 AM October 24, 2017
The suspects
The suspects
By: Tanya Clark

(Scroll down for video) Police in Florida, announced that they have arrested a large number of people during their undercover sting operation.

Polk County Sheriff’s undercover detectives along with detectives and investigators from other law enforcement agencies conducted a week-long undercover investigation focusing on human trafficking and targeting online prostitution.

This resulted in the arrest of 277 suspects.

“That’s the most we have ever arrested in the history of the sheriff’s office,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

To their shock, Judd said that they also arrested one of their own during the sting. He was identified as Sergeant Luis Diaz, who had been with the department for 17 years.

Diaz resigned after his arrest.

Judd said that many of those arrested were not from the area.

215 suspects drove to Polk County from various counties across Florida or were visiting from other states for the purpose of paying for sex.

Among those arrested were two men who were looking to have sex with minors and two sex offenders.

Other suspects were identified as professionals such as a cancer surgeon, a pediatrician, a teacher, an active Colonel in the US Marine Corps, an Air Force veteran, a retired Broward County deputy sheriff and a retired police officer from Birmingham, Alabama.

51 of the suspects advertised as prostitutes online.

209 of the suspects solicited sex from undercover detectives who posted ads posing as prostitutes.

17 other arrests were for deriving proceeds from prostitution or other offenses.

The youngest suspect was 16-years-old and the oldest suspect was 74-years-old.

Those arrested face charges including human-trafficking, traveling to meet a child for sexual conduct, transmit material harmful to a minor, soliciting another for prostitution, offer to commit prostitution, transporting for prostitution, drug and paraphernalia possession, battery, violation of probation, and resisting.

Police also rescued victims who were forced into prostitution. Some of those arrested were identified as victims of human trafficking and they are getting the help they need, police said.