Venice man arrested in internet sex sting

John DeSarli, Jr.
John DeSarli, Jr.(Polk County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 3:10 PM EDT
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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - A Venice man is one of 13 men caught in an undercover online sex sting in Polk County, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office says.

John DeSarli, Jr., 39, is facing charges after deputies say he had an online conversation with a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl and tried to meet her for sex.

It was part of a weeklong operation named “Operation Cyber Guardian II,” where detectives posed as children on social media platforms, mobile apps, and online dating sites.

Deputies say on Sept. 2, DeSarli engaged in an online conversation on a social networking site with a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl.

The “girl” told him she was 14 and asked if he was alright with her age. He replied, “Yes love Let’s make it happen” and described how he planned to engage in sex with the girl. He also sent lewd photographs.

DeSarli traveled to an undercover location to have sex with the “child” where he was arrested. Detectives say they found cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia in his alarm company work vehicle, which he used to travel to the rendezvous.

He was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:

  • One count traveling to meet a minor for sex
  • One count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony
  • Two counts transmitting harmful material to a minor
  • One count attempted lewd battery
  • One count possession of cocaine
  • One count possession of heroin
  • One count possession of drug paraphernalia

He was released after paying a $25,500 bond.