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Tampa Bay and Sarasota's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Tampa Bay and Sarasota, FL | WTSP.com

16 men arrested, accused of soliciting sex with minors who were undercover detectives

Sheriff Chad Chronister said those arrested include a member of the Army reserve and a former area police sergeant.
Credit: WTSP
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister speaks about an investigation on Friday, June 15, 2018.

TAMPA, Fla. — In recent weeks, the sheriff said 16 men have been arrested for soliciting sex with undercover detectives they believed were minors.

They were swept up in what the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office calls "Operation Small Talk," an online chat operation. Some of the men included a former sergeant with a Tampa Bay-area law enforcement agency and a registered sex offender.

Another man was charged with more than 50 counts of possession of child pornography, according to a news release.

The sheriff's office has a news conference planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday to release more details.

"The repulsive behavior and messages from these 16 suspects arrested were across the board," Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the release. "In some cases, when they showed up to meet these fake teens, they even brought products with them in anticipation of sex."

Florida attorney general Ashley Moody is expected to talk about the results of the operation, as well.

"Because of the great work of our Statewide Prosecutors and HSCO, these reprehensible and dangerous men are off the street and far away from vulnerable minors," she said in the release.

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