Undercover deputies arrested 15 men during an operation that sought out suspects who tried to solicit minors online, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office report.
The sting, called “Operation Wayfarer,” lasted five days. During the operation, Pinellas investigators posed as minors online on different websites, chatrooms and social media. They looked to establish online relationships with men who were looking to meet up with minors for the purposes of sexual activity.
Pinellas detectives allege that the suspects explicitly sought out minors for sex in their online communications.
The operation ended with 15 arrests. The suspects range in age from 20 to 47 years old and they were arrested on various charges like traveling to meet a minor and online solicitation of a minor.
If you have been charged, accused of or are under investigation for any type of Internet sex crime, it is vital to the outcome of your case to retain a criminal defense lawyer who is well-versed in the technical elements of your case. Sex crimes charges, especially ones involving minors, are not taken lightly by police or prosecutors. You must protect yourself and get the legal help you need right away.
At Whittel & Melton, our Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyers are comprised of former prosecutors who understand Internet sex crimes defense cases. We are more than familiar with how police set up online sting operations to catch alleged sexual predators in chat rooms, dating sites and other Internet sites. We also know that these aggressive police tactics can often infringe upon the constitutional rights of the accused. That is why we analyze every aspect of sex crimes cases, including the arrest and all evidence, to expose any holes or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.