Lake County Sex Crimes Sting Results in Arrests

Cybercrimes detectives in the Lake County Sheriff’s Office conducted a seven-day investigation and arrested 26 people who attempted to arrange sexual encounters with minors. Law enforcement officers posed as minors or their guardians in order to find the accused men in the investigation called Operation Take Two. They set up the potential meetings at an empty home in Tavares.

The arrested individuals ranged in age from 19 to 69. While most lived in the area or in nearby counties, one man arranged to travel from Georgia for the meeting. The men were from all walks of life, including a school volunteer, a pilot and a contractor. Many of them brought alcohol, marijuana or condoms. One man had a weapon in his vehicle. Police impounded four vehicles.

One law enforcement official reminded parents of the potential dangers of the Internet and encouraged parents to use wisdom and safety when allowing children online.

Gary Schwartz, an attorney at The Umansky Law Firm, explains his take on the situation:

“Law Enforcement has just completed the latest sting operation in Central Florida, arresting 26 people for allegedly travelling to meet a minor for sexual purposes. These cases are very fact specific and each conversation between a defendant and law enforcement needs to be carefully examined to see whether its content really violates the law, and if it does whether each Defendant was entrapped to do something they would not ordinarily do by overzealous law enforcement efforts.”

Central Florida counties regularly conduct these types of stings. Operation Take Two is the second sweep of its kind for the agency. In 2011, the first sweep netted 32 arrests. In addition, other agencies have conducted separate sweeps. While some departments work alone, organizations will often work together in a joint task force as federal, county and local law enforcement investigate these crimes.

Most task forces conduct these sex cybercrime stings in a similar manner. Detectives visit known Internet chat rooms and find those who might be interested in meeting a child for a sexual encounter. Law enforcement will set up the meeting at a vacant residence where they will be waiting to make an arrest.

The penalties for sex crime offenses, especially those committed against children, are among the most serious possible. The courts may place individuals on probation with all the standard conditions. However, sex offender probation includes strict additional terms, such as curfew, residency restrictions, sex offender registration and participation in and completion of a mandatory sex offender counseling program. The treatment program will communicate the defendant’s cooperation and involvement in the program to the probation officer.

Sex offender registration means that the crime follows the defendant for his entire life. The offender must report his most current address to local law enforcement personnel every three to six months. In some cases, those in the neighborhood will know the defendant has been convicted of a sex crime. Almost every sexually related crime will receive a mandatory prison term.

About The Umansky Law Firm

The Umansky Law Firm is a criminal defense firm serving individuals in the Orlando, Florida area. Their lawyers are committed to delivering high levels of personalized attention to all clients in order to help them achieve the best possible outcome to their case. As former prosecutors and police department legal advisers, their lawyers possess a unique skill set that gives clients a much needed edge in their criminal defense representation.

For more information, please visit the firm’s website at or call (407)228-3838.

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