12 arrested, including Disney bus driver, in Florida child sex sting

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — An undercover online child predator investigation recently netted 12 arrests in Polk County, Florida.

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In a bid to catch child predators before they could prey on young victims, detectives from “Operation Child Protector II” posed Monday night as children as young as 13 years old in online chat rooms, resulting in the arrests, WFLA-TV reported.

“If children gather on any app or any site, then we can find predators there as well,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told the TV station, adding, “If we only arrested one, then it would be successful.”

Judd also confirmed to WTVT that the 12 suspects arrested, nine of whom had no criminal history, have been charged with 49 felonies.

The Auburndale and Winter Haven police departments partnered with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to execute the sting.

According to WFLA, four of the suspects arrested allegedly traveled to meet someone whom they believed was a teenage girl between the ages of 13 and 15. The other eight were picked up by law enforcement officials directly after their online activity linked to the sting included “grooming” behavior and sending sexually explicit content to undercover detectives the suspects believed to be girls between the ages of 13 and 15.

Among those arrested was 30-year-old Walt Disney World bus driver Zachary Hudson, who showed up to meet a supposedly underage girl while still wearing his uniform and allegedly sent explicit messages to undercover detectives while still on the clock, WTVT reported.

“If your bus was running late at Disney, (Hudson) was busy taking pictures of himself and talking trash to what he thought was a little girl,” Judd said during a Friday news conference announcing the arrests.

The sheriff’s office confirmed Friday that other suspects remain at large across Florida.

According to WPEC, those arrested and their charges are as follows:

  • Francis “Frank” Butler, 62, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida: one count traveling to meet a minor for sex; one count attempted lewd battery; one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.
  • Nando Castellar, 20, Orlando: one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony; one count transmission of material harmful to a minor.
  • Zachary Clark, 26, Tampa, Florida: one count traveling to meet a minor for sex; one count attempted lewd battery; one count use of a computer to seduce a child; one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.
  • Roger Dennis Fleury, 40, Saint Clair, Michigan: one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony; five counts transmission of material harmful to a minor.
  • Zachary Hudson, 30, Reunion, Florida: one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony; one count transmission of material harmful to a minor.
  • Johnny Hughley, 43, Lehigh Acres, Florida: one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony; one count transmission of material harmful to a minor.
  • Timothy King, 26, Clermont, Florida: one count traveling to meet a minor for sex; one count attempted lewd battery; one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.
  • George Elec Matthews, 66, Ozark, Alabama: one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony; two counts transmission of material harmful to a minor.
  • Lawrence Neu, 67, Lakeland, Florida: one count traveling to meet a minor for sex; one count attempted lewd battery; four counts transmission of material harmful to minor; one count (enhanced) use of a computer to seduce a child; one count use of a computer to misrepresent age and seduce a child.
  • Michael Occhino, 57, Kissimmee, Florida: one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony; three counts transmission of material harmful to a minor; one count interference with custody (F3).
  • Cameron Ohlin, 26, Tallahassee, Florida: one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony; six counts transmission of material harmful to a minor.
  • Christopher Sean Velez, 33, Tampa: one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony; three counts transmission of material harmful to a minor.