The investigation was spurred from the sex trafficking of a 13 year old girl. Law enforcement has arrested and charged 170 people through their investigation into the trafficking activities the victim was coerced for. Defendants range from write-in candidates for local offices and school teachers. 20 of the arrestees are facing federal charges, with many of them from outside of Florida.
The inter-agency investigation was titled Operation Stolen Innocence.
The police work in making arrests related to the alleged trafficking began in July and ended only several days ago. Investigators used an extensive digital trail of Facebook messages to find evidence of alleged sex crimes dating back years, with defendants describing incidences in which a minor’s mother requested drugs or money in return for sex acts with her underage daughter.
“I know it’s hard to believe that something like this happens here in our community,” said Lorena Vollrath-Bueno, a Florida felony prosecutor. “But it does.”
Operation Stolen Innocence has netted felony charges against 106 people, many of which include battery of a minor, child pornography, and human trafficking. An additional 64 people have been charged with misdemeanors, most of which are charges of solicitation of prostitution.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported in detail on TPD’s press conference in regards to Operation Stolen Innocence.