LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Ten men were arrested in Florida after attempting to meet with children, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office said the arrests were made in a four-day undercover operation called Operation Flip Flop.
The men attempted to meet underage children online for inappropriate activity, according to deputies.
Deputies said the 10 men are facing various sex-related charges. Clark Mason, one of the men arrested in the investigation, is an Apopka firefighter who has been placed on administrative leave, according to the fire department.
“The Department is saddened that the actions of one individual could have the capacity to tarnish the integrity and dedication that the rest of our department and the fire service as a whole work so hard to preserve,” a statement said.
Detectives said officers posed online as a 13-year-old or a 14-year-old child. The men traveled to a predetermined location and were accused of having the intent of having inappropriate relationships with the children, according to detectives.
The sheriff’s office said the men were taken into custody once they got to the location.
Three of the men arrested in the undercover operation were registered sex offenders, according to the sheriff’s office.
“These arrests illustrate the importance of continuing these operations to protect our children,” said Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell. “Parents need to know who their children are communicating with on the internet.”
Here is a list of other agencies who helped LCSO with the investigation: Central Florida Crimes Against Children Task Force Florida Department of Law Enforcement Polk County Sheriff’s Office Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Orlando Police Department Sanford Police Department Clermont Police Department Altamonte Springs Police Department
Forty-five employees total helped out with the investigation.