VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Two Virginia men are among 13 arrested in an internet child sex sting in Volusia County, Florida. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office says Investigators posed as teenagers during the operation, which ran through August 2-6.
The men used social media, emails, and texts to arrange sexual encounters with agents posing as children under the age 14, officials said.
The men were taken into custody after meeting with investigators around the County. Officials said that each man expressed a clear desire to have sex with the boy or girl they believed they were meeting.
“Our main goal is to protect the children and let these people know: We are there, we will go after them, and if they stick their heads up, we’re going to let the world know who they are,” Sheriff Ben Johnson said announcing the arrests.
Timothy Carl Tate, 40, of Bumpass, Va., was arrested after authorities say he was in Florida while on a vacation with his family. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Tate told his family he was going to buy donuts. Instead, investigators say he attempted to meet up with a 14-year-old and was subsequently arrested.
Anthony Onesi, 48, of Lovettsville, Va., was taken into custody when investigators say he ran out of gas while in route to meet a minor.
Officials said he texted the girl saying he was stranded on Interstate 95. Investigators said they drove to the location, picked him up and took him into custody. He was around five miles from the home where he was supposed to meet the girl.
According to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, Onesi is a NASA contractor.
The remaining 11 suspects are from Florida.
The men have been charged with attempted lewd or lascivious battery, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure/entice a child, traveling to meet a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct and use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.
The sex sting operation was a joint effort of more than a dozen Florida agencies.