POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Two Walt Disney World employees and a University of Central Florida student were among those arrested Thursday during a child porn bust, officials said.
According to authorities, Operation Guardians of Innocence IV: Fall Haul was a month-long special investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Office Computer Crimes Unit.
The investigators focused on identifying members of the community who possessed and shared child pornography, deputies said.
After the investigation was over, 17 men were arrested.
According to officials, some men arrested had contacted children or were soliciting sexually explicit photos of children.
"The people arrested during this operation prey on the most innocent and vulnerable among us---our children. The undercover detectives who investigate these crimes have to see things that nobody should have to see, and no child should have to experience. Each one of these arrests has removed a predator from our streets, and the internet," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Those who were arrested came from different backgrounds. According to officials, husbands, fathers, a former middle school assistant principal, two theme park employees, a mechanical engineer, a landscaper, laborers, a truck driver, a registered nurse, and several who were unemployed were among those arrested.
"Our detectives work hard year-round to keep track of convicted sexual offenders and predators who reside here. We also monitor whether or not they remain compliant with the law. We know our citizens are concerned about predators and offenders being around children during events such as Halloween, so every year we conduct initiatives like this one. These suspects learned the hard way that we take every one of the requirements seriously, and failure to comply will result in an arrest," Judd said.
Stay with News 6 as we update this developing story.