Four Northeast Florida men were among 12 arrested in a child sex sting out of Marion County, authorities said.
According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the 12 men talked online with who they thought were children but were actually undercover detectives. Some of them are accused of sending sexually explicit photos to the detectives.
Investigators said eight men traveled to a location in Marion County to have sex with the child they thought they had been messaging online, but when they arrived, they were actually met by law enforcement officers and arrested.
In addition, investigators said, four men transmitted harmful material to who they believed were minors.
During a news conference Monday, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods issued a stern warning to parents and also people who prey on children.
“To the would-be, vile individuals that are doing this and are seeking children in Marion County, be assured that I will find you, I will put handcuffs on you and I will put you in my jail. My deputies will spend hours hunting you down. My job is bringing people to justice, but if it was my choice, I’d bury you under the jail if I could,” Woods said. “My message to parents, I want to make something clear: You need to be fully aware of where your children are talking online. Be aware of their social media. All of these individuals, for some of them, this might be their first offense, but I promise you it’s not their first time.”
Dunte Campbell, 31, of Jacksonville, was arrested in Marion County on charges of traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Allen Vasquez, 18, of Jacksonville, was arrested on a warrant charging him with transmitting harmful material to a minor.
Lonny Blankenship, 51, of Lake City, was arrested in Marion County on charges of traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.
Robin Strickland, 21, of Gainesville, was arrested on a warrant charging him with using a computer to solicit a child, using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony and transmitting harmful material to a minor.