POLK COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – 102 people are now behind bars in Polk County, after a 6-day undercover investigation revealed human trafficking offenders.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is calling the operation ‘No Tricks, No Treats 2021.’READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: How Are Global Shortages Affecting Local Customers?
“They don’t have any previous criminal history. They are young girls being taken advantage of,” said Sheriff Judd.
Sheriff Judd says after six long days of investigators going undercover, Polk County is now a little safer.
“We celebrate the fact that we believe we have identified three victims of human trafficking,” he said.
Sheriff Judd says 102 people were arrested for participating in human trafficking during the No Tricks, No Treats Operation. A few of the arrests were shocking, including 32-year-old Idriz Karic, an adult protective investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families in Pinellas County.
“He investigates abuse and fraud against the elderly on the other end of the age spectrum from what he was actually doing himself,” said Sheriff Judd.
Another is Shelby Adkinson, who Sheriff Judd says was arrested on his birthday.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming?
“We gave him a birthday gift. We gave him a nice set of handcuffs and then we gave him a special meal at jail, and then we gave him free room and board,” he said.
64-year-old Donald Spencer was arrested for trying to meet up with a minor for sex.
“Here’s what he told the detectives ‘I knew it was probably a sting, but I had to sacrifice myself in case it wasn’t.’ Are you kidding me?” said Sheriff Judd.
He says another child predator was arrested, Theodore Jones, who planned to include the fictional character Pikachu in his contact with the minor.
“If you play Pokemon or you’re familiar with that, it’s something like ‘Gotta catch them all.’ Well our investigators from the sheriff’s office and police departments, I don’t know if we caught them all, but we caught a bunch of them,” said Sheriff Judd.
Dr. Marianne Thomas with the one more child organization, says those human trafficking victims revealed in the investigation are getting help, and she suggests parents track their children’s social media.MORE NEWS: Joe And Son's Olive Oils Celebrate 10 Years In South Tampa
“It’s not the boogie man out there that’s coming after your child, it’s someone who already had contact with your child,” said Dr. Thomas.