114 arrested in Polk undercover human trafficking investigation
BARTOW (FOX 13) - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd just made it a little harder for a lot of people to have a merry Christmas. Undercover detectives arrested 114 people in an online sex sting called "Operation Not So Silent Night."
They rounded up suspected prostitutes, johns, and human traffickers by placing ads on Backpage, Craigslist and social media sites.
One of the most high profile is Dr. Matthew Phillips, director of elementary curriculum for Osceola County schools.
"He is married," said Judd. "Bet his wife is really proud of him today."
One out of four suspects is married. Judd says a lot of wives are going to demanding answers now.
One of the accused is a law enforcement officer from Clermont who works for the prison system.
"His wife thought he was at the gym," said Judd. "I guess he didn't explain to her what kind of exercise he was going to do."
Another man told his wife he was going Christmas for the kids.
"And, in fact, what he was doing was soliciting sex. I can assure [the man] that there's nothing his children want at the location he was shopping."
Judd got especially riled up over Oscar Gonzalez, from Mexico. Detectives say he was searching the internet for a 14-year-old boy to have sex.
"Donald Trump, this guy deserves to be sent back," Judd quipped.
Detectives said they also arrested two suspected human traffickers, one of which is accused of bringing an HIV-positive woman from out of state to have sex.
This story has been updated to remove some names.