GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Gainesville police arrested 15 Florida men this month during an undercover child sex sting, dubbed Operation Resilient.
The five-day undercover investigation began March 15 and was conducted by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
During the operation, multiple men spoke with someone they believed to be a young teenager or the guardian of a teen who was allowing sexual contact with a child. Fifteen of those men ultimately made attempts to meet the children for the purpose of sexual contact, police said.
A majority of the men live in the Gainesville or Alachua County area, and two are from Jacksonville.
Most of the men thought they were arranging to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, according to arrest reports.
The men arrested were:
- Jack Bergstresser, 59, of Lake City
- Jackie Bush, 24, of Shalimar
- Doe Doe, 39, of Jacksonville
- Joshua Gillen, 25, of Keystone Heights
- Edwin Hernandez, 56, of Spring Hill
- Hongyan Huang, 22, of Gainesville
- Siddhartha Jain, 27, of Gainesville
- Scott Kravatz, 38, of Gainesville
- Darren Lunbery, 47, of Williston
- Zachery Page, 22, Gainesville
- Quinton Reddick, 22, of Gainesville
- Toddrick Speights, 20, of Gainesville
- Cristian Torres-Vega, 22, of Jacksonville
- German Varela, 36, of Gainesville
- Ray Wood, 43, of Ocala
According to their arrest reports, Huang and Reddick thought they were communicating with 14-year-old boys, and Bergstresser thought he was communicating with a 14-year-old girl and her uncle.
Speights thought he was talking to a 13-year-old girl and her stepfather, and Kravatz thought he was talking to a 13-year-old girl and her guardian, police said. Kravatz is a registered sexual offender who was convicted in March 2010 of possessing child porn.
The men are all facing charges of soliciting a child to commit an illegal sexual act, traveling to meet a minor for sex and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
Bush is also facing a charge of transmitting material harmful to a minor, and Lunbery is facing an additional charge of resisting arrest.
According to police, Bush, who thought he was arranging to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex, also sent pictures of his genitals to someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
Police said Lunbery resisted when officers attempted to handcuff him, and it took several officers to detain him.
At one point, police said, he managed to pull the trigger of a stun gun that was on the tactical vest of an officer.
Gainesville police Chief Tony Jones said investigations like Operation Resilient are vital for community safety.
“Fifteen men made the conscious decision to get into a vehicle and travel with the intention of having sex with a teenager,” Jones said. “I’m proud of everyone involved in this operation as they seek to get these offenders behind bars and away from our children.”
Gainesville police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias thanked the local media for their cooperation in the operation.
“By nature of Florida’s Public Records Laws, the local news media knew about this operation from the start,” Tobias said. “We asked them to hold their stories until we were complete, and all of them chose to follow that request. Thank you all for understanding that protecting our children is more important than reporting a story first.”
A total of 46 law enforcement agents from seven different agencies took part in the operation.
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