Marion County, Florida: The U.S. Marshals announced on Twitter earlier today that they had arrested 22 men and were seeking five more after an online child sex sting operation concluded over the weekend.
Law enforcement officials have arrested 22 men and are searching for five more in connection with an online child sex sting operation that wrapped up over the weekend in Marion County, FL.— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) April 6, 2022
The Marion County Sheriff's Office reported that 22 of the 27 men facing charges were local residents including an officer with the Department of Corrections, the son of an Ocala City Council member and a vendor for the local school district according to the Ocala StarBanner.
The five that had not yet been arrested were from Georgia and New York. Investigators stated that warrants for their arrests had been issued.
Those arrested are between the ages of 21 and 61 and face charges including traveling to meet a minor, soliciting a person believed by the defendant to be a child for unlawful sexual conduct, transmission of material harmful to minors by electronic device or equipment and unlawful use of a two-way communications device.
At a press conference announcing the outcome of the sting operation, The Marion County Sheriff's Office disclosed that the sting took place between March 28 and April 2, 2022.
Sheriff Billy Woods admonished parents to pay attention to what their children are doing online cautioning that there were evil individuals seeking to drag them into dark places.
"Evil doesn't sleep. Evil doesn't rest. Evil doesn't take a break. Evil seeks out every second of life to destroy what is good in this world," Woods stated.