25 men arrested in Sarasota County, Florida accused of trying to meet children for sex

25 men arrested in Sarasota County, accused of trying to meet children for sex

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Over the course of four days, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25 people who deputies say were trying to meet children for sex.

25 Arrested in Trafficking Sting

The sheriff's office conducted Operation Intercept VI, an operation where suspects ranging in ages from 19-65 thought they were communicating with young male and female children after responding to ads on the Internet, but they were actually talking to undercover detectives.

The sheriff's office worked with the Department of Homeland Security, DeSoto County Sheriff's Office and North Port Police Department to take the suspects into custody. Several are still under continued investigation for other related and unrelated crimes.

Operation Intercept VI Press Conference

“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,” commented 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.”

The sheriff's office last conducted a similar sting, Operation Intercept V, in May 2018, when 21 men were arrested.

Sheriff Knight warned parents they should be aware of the following apps frequently downloaded by children that predators can use to exploit them:

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight warns parents they should be aware of the following apps frequently downloaded by children that predators can use to exploit them.
Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight warns parents they should be aware of the following apps frequently downloaded by children that predators can use to exploit them. (Source: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office)

The sheriff’s office says all 25 men arrested traveled with the intent of having sex with a male or female child. One of the suspects rode a three-wheel bicycle to the home while in possession of cocaine and another brought with him two firearms and several narcotics. One man attempted to lure the child into his vehicle while several sent explicit photos and brought condoms with them.

Those arrested include:

  • 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, 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. 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, of 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, 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, 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, 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 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.
Over the course of four days, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested 25 people who deputies say were trying to meet children for sex.
Over the course of four days, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested 25 people who deputies say were trying to meet children for sex. (Source: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office)

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