WHAT: Sheriff Chad Chronister and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody will discuss the results of “Operation Small Talk,” an online chat operation
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office identified 16 men who solicited sex with undercover detectives they believed were minors online and on various social media platforms. With the assistance of other local law enforcement agencies, they were all arrested in recent weeks.
“The repulsive behavior and messages from these 16 suspects arrested were across the board,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “In some cases, when they showed up to meet these fake teens, they even brought products with them in anticipation of sex. As a parent myself, this type of activity crushes me to my core. No child should suffer at the hands of an adult trying to turn their corrupt fantasies into a reality.”
The arrests included a registered sex offender and a former sergeant with another Tampa Bay area law enforcement agency. They also include a member of the Army Reserve. Another one of the suspects was also charged with more than 50 counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
“I am extremely grateful for Sheriff Chronister and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives who successfully identified and arrested these predators seeking to sexually exploit and abuse children,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. “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.”
Any media outlets planning to attend are asked to RSVP by emailing the HCSO Public Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accommodations have been made for attendees to social distance, and face coverings are required for everyone in attendance.