POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced on Friday the arrests of 12 men accused of soliciting children online for sex, including a Disney employee and a man who rode his bike 10 miles in an attempt to meet a child.
According to deputies, the 12 suspects are facing a total of 49 felonies, which include traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and transmission of material harmful to a child.
Of the suspects arrested, two were from Alabama and Michigan and the other 10 were from various cities throughout Florida, including Lakeland, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, Clermont, Tampa, Kissimmee, Lehigh Acres and Tallahassee, investigators said.
Those from Central Florida who were arrested include Zachary Hudson; of Reunion, Timothy King; of Clermont, Michael Occhino; of Kissimmee and Nando Castellar; of Orlando.
“What would an operation be — either a pornography investigation or predator operation or human trafficking operation — without a Disney employee? We always have a Disney employee,” Judd said.
Hudson, 30, is employed as a bus driver at Disney, according to Judd. Hudson appeared to be in his uniform in the arrest photo the sheriff shared.
Deputies said four of the suspects traveled to an undercover location to have sex with who they thought were 13- or 15-year-old girls while the other eight suspects had warrants for their arrests after grooming and sending sexually explicit content to who they thought were 13-, 14- and 15-year-old girls.
King, 26, rode his bicycle for miles to meet a teen for sex, according to Judd.
“This dude was on a mission,” Judd said. “So you might ask the sheriff, ‘Sheriff, how far did he ride a bike to have what he thought was sex with a 15-year-old child?’ 10 miles. Did you hear me? 10 miles.”
The sheriff said one of the Central Florida men — Occhino, 57 — suggested in his online conversations that one of the girls he thought he was speaking to should “walk away without your mom seeing you” so he could pick her up.
“Is that scary, or what?” Judd said.
The sheriff said Castellar, 20, sent a nude photo to an undercover officer, who he believed was a 14-year-old girl.
The Auburndale and Winter Haven police departments also contributed to the investigation, the sheriff’s office said.
All 12 suspects were arrested and booked into jails in various counties, including Polk.