Polk County, Florida: On Friday, June 17, the Polk County Sheriff's Office announced the results of a two-week long sting operation dubbed "Operation Child Protector II" which began on June 2, 2022.
Sheriff Grady Judd discussed the sting in a video posted to Facebook where he announced that 12 individuals between the ages of 20 and 67, the majority of which were not residents of Polk County were arrested. Combined, those arrested face a total of 49 felony charges.
4 individuals traveled to a residence believing that they would meet a minor and were arrested there. One of those four actually rode a bike 10 miles in order to get to the residence, believing he would be meeting with a 15-year-old child.
Two warrants were issued for individuals outside of Florida as a result of the sting. One individual is in custody in Michigan and another is in custody in Alabama.
Another individual for which a warrant was issued was 30-year-old Zachary Hudson. He did not travel to the residence to meet what he believed to be a 15-year-old girl but did send "nude and lewd pictures of himself" to what he believed to be a 15-year-old girl.
Hudson reportedly communicated with the undercover agent on June 4-5 discussing in part how "age is just a number" and that the relationship had to be "our secret" because "I could go to jail. But I'd risk it for spending some time with you," Judd said, paraphrasing the messages sent.
In his booking picture Hudson is wearing his Disney World uniform. He told officers that he worked as a bus driver there. Hudson has been charged with use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and transmission of material harmful to a minor.
Judd reminded parents that they are not subject to search and seizure regulations the way that law enforcement is.
"They don't have to worry about search and seizure so they need to search and they need to seize if they see something inappropriate," Judd said. "Stay all up in your child's business because if you're not in your child's business, predators will be."
While this sting has come to an end, Judd assured that there are undercover detectives online 24/7 seeking child predators.