Over a Dozen Child Predators Nabbed In Undercover Sting In Florida

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Fox 13 Tampa Bay

Undercover detectives and partnering agencies conducted a seven-day undercover operation from March 10th through March 16th, 2020, during which detectives posed as girls and boys online—on social media platforms and on-line dating sites—to investigate those who prey upon and travel to meet children for unlawful sexual activity. Detectives from the Desoto, Hillsborough, Lake, and Osceola Sheriff’s Offices, and the Tampa and Altamonte Springs Police Departments, also participated in the operation.

The suspects communicated with and solicited who they thought were children between the ages of 12 and 14 for sex acts. Most of them showed up to an undercover location in Polk County at separate times to meet who they thought were children, to sexually batter them. Some of them transmitted pornographic images and solicited the children online, and were arrested for that.

In all, detectives arrested 16 suspects, including a registered sexual predator; a Navy veteran who works for Disney Vacation Club; an assistant youth soccer coach; a grandfather with 9 grandchildren; and two full-time college students. The oldest suspect is 59 and the youngest is 21.

The 16 arrested suspects face a total of 42 felony charges which include: traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, transmission of material harmful to a child, and violation of probation.
Those arrested include:

Jorge Hernandez Lopez

1. 44-year-old Jorge Hernandez Lopez of Davenport. On March 10, 2020, Lopez – using the profile name “Fun4boys!” – engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy. Upon telling the “boy” that he was 34-years-old, and learning the “boy” was 14, he said, “cool. I’m into young. I’m ok with that tbh.” He asked the “boy” to send photos, and asked what his sexual experience was. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then arrived that evening, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s been curious about young boys and that he’s chatted online with them. He told detectives that he’s currently unemployed.

Lopez was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)
• One count Use of a Computer to Seduce a Child (F-2)

Donald Paul Diem Jr

2. 33-year-old Donald Paul Diem, Jr. of Winter Garden. On March 10, 2020, Diem – using the profile name “PauleD” – engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. He asked the “girl” to send photos of herself in the shower, and asked what she wanted to do with him. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove there in his Tesla that evening, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s married with two children, a Navy veteran, and employed at Disney Vacation Club.

Diem was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

Jose Salgado

3. 28-year-old Jose Salgado of Plant City. On March 11, 2020, Salgado engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He asked the “girl” to send photos of herself to him and discussed what he wanted to do with her sexually when he arrived. He said he was okay with her age if she was okay with his. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove there that evening, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s an assistant youth soccer coach, and is a pest control technician. 

Salgado was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

William Bronson

4. 44-year-old William Russel Bronson of Orlando. On March 11, 2020, Bronson – using email rustybronson75.rb@gmail.com – engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy. He asked the “boy” to send photos of his genitalia to him and discussed what he wanted to do with him sexually in his SUV and that they could “mess around” so the boy could “get some experience.” He said he needed to eat first before driving to pick the boy up because “my girl cooked and will be mad if I don’t eat.” He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove there that evening, where he was arrested without incident. He told deputies that he’s unemployed.

Bronson was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

Maxwell Anthony

5. 29-year-old Maxwell Anthony of Orlando. On March 13, 2020, Anthony engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He told her what he wanted to do with her sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then arrived in an Uber, where he was arrested without incident. He had condoms in his pocket. His criminal history includes previous arrests for drug possession and failure to appear. 

Anthony was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

Jimmie Rush Jr

6. 30-year-old Jimmie Rush Jr. of Lorida. On March 12, 2020, Rush engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy. He sent nude photos to the “boy” and told him what he wanted to do with him sexually. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove there the next day, where he was arrested without incident. He told detectives he works in a restaurant at Universal Orlando. 

Rush was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)
• One count Transmission of Material Harmful to a Minor (F-3)
• One count Use of Computer to Seduce a Child (F-3)

Matthew Budd

7. 22-year-old Matthew Budd of Auburndale. On March 13, 2020, Budd engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy. He told the “boy” he worked at Legoland and if the boy could get a ride to the theme park they could “make out and stuff” in the bathrooms and other areas of the park. He arranged to meet the boy when he got off work the next day near the theme park. He told detectives he works at the Legoland hotel as a dishwasher. His criminal history includes previous arrests for lewd/lascivious battery, sexual battery, cyber stalking, battery domestic violence, burglary, petit theft, criminal mischief, DWLSR, and violation of probation.

Budd was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)
• One count Transmission of Material Harmful to a Minor (F-3)

Mitchell Gaunt

8. 59-year-old Mitchell Gaunt of Apopka. On March 13, 2020, Gaunt engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. The next day he showed up and was arrested. He told detectives he has 9 grandchildren, and recently retired and moved to Florida.

Gaunt was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

Christian Buford

9. 21-year-old Christian Buford of Lakeland. On March 14, 2020, Buford engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 12-year-old girl. He asked for the address to the undercover location and then drove there, where he was arrested without incident. He told detectives he is a student at Liberty University, in flight school in Lakeland. He said since he was only going to be receiving oral sex from the girl, he thought it was okay.

Buford was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

Miguel Caez Jr

10. 26-year-old Miguel Caez Jr. of Davenport. On March 13, 2020, Caez engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He told her what he wanted to do with her sexually and asked for the address to the undercover location and then took an Uber there the next day, where he was arrested without incident. He told detectives he is homeless. He’s currently on probation and his criminal history includes 6 felonies and 2 misdemeanors, including arrests for battery domestic violence, forgery, and no valid DL.  

Caez was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Use of Computer to Seduce a Child (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)
• One count VOP (F-3)

Nicholas Sydnes

11. 27-year-old Nicholas Sydnes of Oviedo. On March 15, 2020, Sydnes engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. He told her, “I’ll be honest, I’m on [dating app] to either talk to girls about dirty things or meet up. Are you okay with that?” He asked for the address to the undercover location and drove there, where he was taken into custody without incident. He brought condoms.

Sydnes was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

Bhavya Shah

12. 24-year-old Bhavya Shah of Tampa. On March 15, 2020, Shah engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. He told her he was working on his Master’s degree, to become a pharmacist. He asked her what kind of condoms she preferred, and when he arrived at the undercover location he had 2 condoms in his pocket. He asked if he could receive a “ticket” instead of being arrested, so he could finish his thesis paper. He was taken into custody without incident.

Shah was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

Eric Chachick

13. 28-year-old Eric Michael Chachick of Ruskin. On March 13, 2020, Chachick engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He sent her a picture of his genitalia and discussed having sex with her. He drove to a park near the undercover location but left without meeting the “girl.” Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and he was taken into custody on March 16, 2020, without incident.

Chachick was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail and charged with:
• One count Use of Two-Way Communication Device to Commit a Felony (F-3)
• One count Transmission of Material Harmful to a Minor (F-3)

Paul Lagerblade

14. 48-year-old Paul Lagerblade of Brooksville. On March 11, 2020, Lagerblade began engaging in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He had several conversations with her over the next few days, during which he discussed picking her up and taking her to a hotel room. Lagerblade also answered another advertisement – using email address windyguitar462@gmail.com – posted by an undercover detective posing as a mom with a 13-year-old daughter. He told the “mom” he would pay $150.00 to have sex with her daughter. During the conversation, Lagerblade said, “I really want to come over, but I wasn’t honest with you…I was arrested for trying to have sex with a minor and I did 6 years in prison for it. It was a police sting, and it was all because I answered an ad on Craigslist. It’s obvious that I’m attracted to underage girls, but because of what happened to me I’m really nervous about this being a set up. I’m sorry if I sound paranoid, but that’s why I asked to see your daughter in a video call. I never want to go back to prison.” Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and he was taken into custody on March 16, 2020, without incident. According to the Florida Department of Corrections website, Lagerblade was arrested for attempted lewd and lascivious battery on a minor in July 2011 in Citrus County, and in 2012 was sentenced to 7 years, 6 months in prison. He was released in April 2018. 

Lagerblade was booked into the Hernando County Jail and charged with:
• Two counts Use of a Computer to Seduce a Child (F-3)
• One count Use of a Computer to Solicit a Parent to Consent to the Participation of a Child Committing a Sex Act (F-3)

Carlos Torres-Torres

15. 28-year-old Carlos Javier Torres-Torres of Clermont. On March 12, 2020, Torres-Torres engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He told her he would bring condoms so she wouldn’t get pregnant. He drove to the undercover location but left when he saw people outside nearby. He accused the girl of “playing games” with him, and he was hurt because he was going to be “so loving” to her. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and he was taken into custody on March 16, 2020, without incident.

Torres-Torres was booked into the Lake County Jail and charged with:
• One count Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex (F-2)
• One count Attempted Lewd Battery (F-3)

Jason Griffith

16. 39-year-old Jason Griffith of Daytona Beach. On March 12, 2020, Griffith engaged in an online conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He spent several days chatting with her and telling her the things he wanted to do to her, and sending her explicit photos of himself, and asking her to send him explicit photos of her. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, and he was taken into custody on March 16, 2020, without incident.

Griffith was booked into the Volusia County Jail and charged with:
• One count Use of Two-Way Communication Device to Commit a Felony (F-3)
• Two counts Transmission of Material Harmful to a Minor (F-3)
• Two counts Use of a Computer to Seduce a Child (F-3)

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