Thirteen people were arrested in a child-sex sting, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities announced Monday that the following men were arrested: Nathan Daniels, 31, of St. Augustine; Javon Douglas, 20, of Altamonte Springs; Joshua Ellich, 23, of Deltona; Jeffery George, 32, of Titusville; Michael Jackson, 26, of Daytona Beach; David Jaco, 61, of Ormond Beach; Maxmillion Littman, 23, of New Smyrna Beach; Anthony Onesi, 47, of Lovettsville, Virginia; Richard Preira, 38, of Daytona Beach; Jacob Smoot, 19, of Ormond Beach; Timothy Tate, 41 of Bumpass, Virginia; Nathaniel Whiting, 37, of DeLand; and Tryik Williams, 18, of Cocoa.
Benjermin Roy, 28, of Orlando, remains at large after he drove away while deputies approached his car, authorities said.Raw: News Conference on arrests made in Volusia County child sex sting
The Sheriff’s Office said deputies had been in contact with more than 100 people, but most didn't follow through.
The men were taken into custody after undercover investigators met the men at convenient stores around Volusia County.
"We had family men showing up here; one who was on vacation left his family to come and meet a juvenile. This is what you are dealing with," said Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson.
The men used social media sites, emails and text messages to arrange sexual encounters with undercover agents who were posing online as children 14 years old or younger, authorities said.
“Our main goal is to protect the children and let these people know: We are there. We will go after them, and if they stick their heads up, we’re going to let the world know who they are,” Sheriff Ben Johnson said.
One of the men arrested, Onesi, is a NASA contractor. Onesi was caught after he ran out of gas on the way to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
"He ran out of gas and sent a text to the chatters that he was out of gas, along with his GPS coordinates to prove he was on the way," said Johnson.
Authorities said some of the men brought drugs with them and condoms with the intention of having sex with a teenager.
“And all the children that use the Internet on a daily basis; it's necessary that we find ways to be proactive and ferret out folks that use the Internet for sexual exploitation," said Johnson.
“These people are predators,” Johnson said. “They know how to talk to children. They can take a good child and turn them bad, put them on the wrong side. When you leave home to meet someone like that, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if they’re going to go willingly become a victim of sexual abuse, or worst-case scenario, never come home. Parents have to get involved. They have to start watching.”
The men are charged with attempted lewd or lascivious battery, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure/entice a child, traveling to meet a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct and use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.
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