18 arrested, including teens, in human trafficking sting during Biketoberfest, Volusia deputies say

Officials say 2 teens sought money for sex

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Eighteen people were arrested, including two teenagers, during Biketoberweek in a sting operation targeting prostitution and human trafficking, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said there were two rental locations in New Smyrna Beach that were being monitored from Thursday through Sunday.

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One man, 27-year-old Richard Brown, faces charges of child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after renting a hotel room for two 17-year-old girls from Broward County, according to the sheriff’s office.

The two girls said they were posting ads seeking sex and were not forced into it, deputies said. Brown told deputies he knew the girls were exchanging sex for money, officials said.

“They were the two of the 18 that we arrested for prostitution, which triggered a human trafficking investigation. That investigation did not feel that it was human trafficking because (the teens) both went to great lengths and showed us things that they’re doing this because they want to do it, not doing it because they were forced to do, which is still pretty incredible,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said during a news conference on Tuesday.

Deputies said six men and 12 women were arrested and face charges ranging from soliciting or offering prostitution to narcotics possession and violation of probation.

The sheriff’s office said not every arrest resulted in prostitution-related charges.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.