Polk County sting nabs nearly 100 suspects - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Polk County sting nabs nearly 100 suspects

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POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The suspects came to an undisclosed Polk county hotel, thinking they were going to have sexual relations.

But they ended up being arrested on solicitation or prostitution charges.

They included twenty-one year Mohammed Ahmed.

"He was in Orlando from Chicago on his honeymoon, can you believe that?, wow!" said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

A total of 92 people were taken into custody during the four-day undercover operation.

Investigators say the alleged prostitutes and johns, never realized they were setting up the encounters with undercover detectives.

Most were from the Orlando area, and other parts of central Florida.

Sheriff Judd added, "For some reason people think once they get out from their home town that they are invisible, that they are safe because they don't know anyone and no one knows them, well surprise."

Sheriff Judd says his office launched the investigation to try and put a halt to human trafficking.

But even he was surprised to learn a youth minister from California in Orlando for a conference, had tried to set up a meeting with who he thought was a fifteen year old girl.

"If we had not arrested anyone else in this operation it would have been all the resources knowing that we got this youth minister arrested who thought he was going to have sex with a child", added Sheriff Judd.

The sheriff says all of the encounters were arranged thru the web site "Backpage".

He accused the web site of facilitating the arrangements, and he says he's putting that Internet site on notice.

Sheriff Judd went on to say, "We, well maybe it is not a notice, it's a promise, ‘Backpage' you are going to be criminally investigated and so are the people that are in charge of the organization."

In addition to the youth Minster, the sting nabbed a bank vice-president from Orlando, a woman who is five weeks pregnant and a fifteen year old girl.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd had a warning for prostitutes and "Johns" in Polk County, "If we didn't get you this time, we will get you next time."  said Judd.

 

Of the 92 suspects arrested:

12 suspects, commonly known as "pimps," were arrested when they brought prostitutes to the undercover location; 39 suspects arrested were prostitutes; 39 suspects arrested were "johns" or those who wished to pay for sex from prostitutes; and 2 others were arrested when they accompanied suspects to the location, for other charges (Battery, Drug Possession). A total of 262 prior charges have been filed against suspects during prior arrests.

45-year-old Samuel Yoon, DOB 2/15/1968, of California, was arrested when he arrived at the undercover location after answering an ad posted by an undercover PCSO detective offering females for sale; he came to the location to have sex with who he thought was a 14-year-old girl; Yoon is a youth minister at the Holy Cows youth ministry, New Community Mission Church in San Leandro, California; he was in Orlando at a youth ministry conference; he was charged with one count Traveling to Meet a Minor, one count Use of Computer to Solicit Guardian, one count Use of Two-Way Communication Device to Commit Felony, one count Offer to Commit Lewdness; he has no prior arrest history.

2 different married men were arrested after arriving at the undercover location to meet with who they thought were prostitutes.  Both of the men's wives reported them missing to law enforcement when they didn't return home.  One of the men, 21-year-old Mohammed Ahmed of Illinois, was in Orlando on his honeymoon.

One man, 48-year-old Michael Kempfer of Orlando, was arrested when he brought a 15-year-old girl to the undercover location as a prostitute.

19 of the suspects arrested told detectives they were receiving government aid.

 

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