Tampa, Florida - The unidentified home in Hillsborough housed computer experts putting out the bait on social media sites. Their chats promised sex with a young teenage boy or girl.
But when men arrived at the house, waiting behind the door was not a child, but law enforcement officers.
"I knew it," said Bryan La Clair of Bartow, as officers put handcuffs on him.
The five-day investigation, dubbed Operation e-Guardian by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) netted 15 arrests. None of the men had a history of sex charges, but FDLE agents say they're convinced they took child sex predators off the streets.
"In doing what we do, we're saving potentially my own child or someone else's child from being victimized by one of these idiots," said FDLE Special Agent Supervisor Chuck McMullen.
The reactions of the arrested men varied. In arrest video provided by the FDLE, Samuel Ramirez appears to break into tears.
"The reaction is sometimes the deer in the headlight look; some of the reactions were hysteria almost," said McMullen at a Monday news conference.
Because the dangers of predators lurking on the Internet are real, FDLE agents urge parents to become true "e-Guardians" by monitoring computers and also phones.
"As a parent, it's my job to know what my kids are doing online. It's my job to keep them safe," McMullen says.
The 15 suspects listed below are from five counties including Polk, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Sarasota.
- Trinton Jones, 34, of Riverview
- Jeffrey Willey, 53, of Lutz
- Robert Frank, 45, of Zephyrhills
- Jason Miles, 46, of Tampa
- Ocnel Blanc, 28, of Temple Terrace
- Michael Murphy, 23, of Sarasota
- Daniel Anderson, 37, of Tampa
- Clay Johnson, 25, of Thonotosassa
- Clay Reddick, 28, of Winter Haven
- Mark Thompson, 23, of Riverview
- Samuel Ramirez, 23, of Ruskin
- Bryan La Clair, 51, of Bartow
- Jose Alvarez III, 23, of Wellington
- Branden Samo, 23, of Palm Harbor
- David Yoder, 68, of Dade City
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