SARASOTA, Florida -- Sheriff's investigators say even they were surprised by the number of arrests following a six-day undercover operation targeting child sex predators.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office worked with FDLE, the State Attorney's Office along with the Venice, North Port and Sarasota Police Departments arresting a total of 31 suspects in a sting called "Operation Intercept".
Mug Shot Gallery: 31 arrested in Sarasota child sex sting
Investigators say the suspects responded to Internet-based ads and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal communications, ultimately traveling to Sarasota County with the intent to have sex with a child or children.
Among those arrested was Shawn Gray, a 45-year old Lt. Commander JAG attorney with the U.S. Coast Guard. He is accused of traveling from Miami to meet with an 8-year-old for sex.
Others on the list were taken into custody with guns, drugs, or condoms in their possession. The Sheriff says many of the men drove expensive cars, which will now be seized.
Beau Zimmer, 10 News