On-line cyber sting operation yields 23 arrests in Volusia County

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH, VOLUSIA

Special to the Daytona Times - First, nearly two dozen men used modern technology to groom their intended victims. Then, they traveled as far as 120 miles to Volusia County to have sex with a child. For others, though, the trip was much shorter — many of them already live right here in Volusia County.

One creative man even came prepared with a written contract, insisting he thought it would be legal for him to have sex with a 14-year-old girl if her parent consented and signed the agreement. But things didn’t exactly go as planned for this group of predators. Instead, their journey ended in a pair of handcuffs and a jail cell. That’s because the men were part of a 5-day undercover sting operation spearheaded by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office targeting offenders who use the Internet and other forms of technology to exploit children. Named “Operation Volusia Broad Band,” the sting wrapped up on Monday with 23 arrests.

This marked the second cyber-sting of its kind conducted in Volusia County. Another one last September resulted in 15 arrests. “Child exploitation is a problem that crosses all jurisdictional boundaries and socio-economic backgrounds,” said Sheriff Ben Johnson. “The arrests that were made in the past five days should be a wake-up call for all predators. Protecting children is our highest priority, and we’re going to continue to be aggressive and proactive in attacking exploitation whenever and wherever it occurs.”
Chat rooms, social networks and other web sites used
During the operation, undercover law enforcement “chatters” posing as children — or in some cases, guardians of children — congregated in Cyberspace chat rooms, social networks and various web sites and waited to be approached by the suspects. In every case, the offenders thought they were either communicating with someone 14 or younger or a child’s guardian. When the conversation turned to meeting the child for sex, the undercover operative made arrangements to rendezvous at a decoy house in Ormond Beach that had been wired with surveillance cameras to capture the encounters for evidentiary purposes. While there were some additional criminal offenses, most of the defendants were charged with three felonies — use of a computer to seduce or solicit a child to engage in unlawful sexual conduct, traveling to meet a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. Some of the defendants were arrested after they thought they were arranging through a child’s mother, father or other relative to have sex with their children in order to teach them how to do it. For those defendants, the first charge was a little different — use of a computer to solicit a parent or guardian to consent to unlawful sexual conduct with a child.
Ages 18 – 66
The defendants ranged in age from 18-66. While some travelled from as far away as Melbourne, Belleview, Cape Canaveral and even Kingsland, GA, most actually live here in Volusia County. Three are local students — two from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Nathaniel L. Fritz and Job Jesuraju) and the other from WyoTech (Lucas J. Rothermel). And most were carrying condoms, which agents say proves their intention was to have sex. One defendant (Paul D. Way) who thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl even brought a teddy bear. Way, who also is facing an additional narcotics offense after he was found to be in possession of two hydrocodone pills, arrived toting a hand-written, signed contract with blanks for the mother and daughter to sign giving him permission to perform sex acts on the girl. In separate cases, Joshua Rockwood and David Payet both had an additional charge of misdemeanor marijuana possession. Meanwhile, the oldest defendant (John F. Williams), a semi-retired doctor from Port Orange who thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl, brought a box of condoms, two bottles of wine, various sex devices and Viagra pills. And after his arrest, one defendant (Andrew Scheler) actually appeared to be relieved. Scheler told agents that he was “glad this happened because I shouldn’t be doing this.”
Agencies provide assistance
While the Sheriff’s Office organized the operation, they had plenty of help. Agencies that participated in the operation included the following:
The North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
Homeland Security Investigations – U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Cocoa Beach Office
Office of the State Attorney 7th Judicial Circuit
ICE-Brevard-Volusia Child Exploitation Task Force
Gainesville Police Department
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Alachua County Sheriff’s Office
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office
Daytona Beach Police Department
Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety
New Smyrna Beach Police Department
Ormond Beach Police Department
Tallahassee Police Department
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida
Operation Volusia Broad Band: DEFENDANT LIST (All listed below are presumed innocent until proven guilty)
Name, Age, DOB, Address, Occupation
Gary M. Amato, 54, 11/12/57, Cape Canaveral, unemployed
Christopher L. Crews, 24, 5/2/88, Palatka, contractor for FP&L
Nathaniel L. Fritz, 18, 8/14/94, Embry-Riddle, student/Embry-Riddle
Michael W. Fuller, 51, 5/24/61, Belleview, retired
Eric J. Geores, 24, 1/5/88, St. Augustine, custodian
Rodney L. Holley, 27, 6/4/85, 371 Chestnut Street, O.C., Allied Building Products
Job K. Jesuraju, 19, 6/22/93, 1690 Dunn Ave. DB, student/Embry-Riddle
Robert Maddelena, 57, 10/2/55, St. Augustine, sales rep
Duane P. Owen, 54, 6/19/58, 100 Life Blvd. Ormond Bch, none
Jayson P. Parker, 27, 7/15/85, 73 N. Arbor Drive Ormond, flooring company
David O. Payet, 18, 6/22/94, Titusville, unemployed
Joshua Rockwood, 20, 12/10/91, 901 S. Massachusetts DeLand, none
Lucas J. Rothermel, 20, 3/4/92, 630 S. Palmetto Ave. DB, student/WyoTech
Andrew J. Scheler, 25, 10/17/86, 3417 Yule Tree Drive Edgewater, Target
Ryan G. Shaw, 26, 10/18/85, 719 Beach Street DB, receptionist
Richard L. Short, 23, 12/28/88, 11A Squirrel Place Palm Coast, Cracker Barrel
George L. Snyder, 39, 9/17/73, Astor, unemployed
Brandon R. Mize, 24, 5/8/88, Kingsland GA, cook
Kevin A. Stephens, 29, 10/28/82, 34 Persimmon Drive Palm Coast, None
Kenneth A. Thomas, 28, 9/7/84, 939 School Street DB, Hooters
Luciano R. Visentin, 19, 5/17/93, Apopka, Publix
Paul D. Way, 36, 5/23/76, Melbourne FL, Army Reservist
John F. Williams, 66, 7/25/46, 1822 Wiley Post Trail PO, doctor/semi-retired

One Response to On-line cyber sting operation yields 23 arrests in Volusia County

  1. terry wagar

    Police pay civilian operatives and those operatives children to help police frame people in sting operations and have been doing this to people since the early 1970s!

    If you are unaware of it then you can thank your Fascist news reporters by being closed mouth about it all these decades!

    Police are corrupt, they always have been, and news reporters lie for police, and always has done so!

    Police commonly set up innocent people as pedophiles the same way, here is how police set up innocent people as pedophiles!

    Police will use their police powers to acquire several apartments surrounding their targets apartment and will fill those apartments with under cover officer’s and with civilian operatives and those operatives children!

    They will spend several months staging crimes near the targets home/apartment and will do this for photogenic photo’s, and an officer will dress up like their target and impersonate the target near targets home and in the neighborhood!

    Officer acting as the double will hang out around the operatives children and the operatives will take photogenic photo’s of the double doing this to frame the target and to build a case against the target!

    They will take side shots and back shots of the double near children, and the operatives will coach their children to pretend to be scared of the double so that they can get it on photogenic!

    They may also use fuzzy video surveillance as well but police tend to prefer to use photogenic photo’s when they use doubles!

    These tactics combined with officer’s and operatives spreading false rumors about the target, using neighborhood slander campaigns is how police frame innocent people as pedophiles!

    Civilian operatives and their children get paid ten thousand dollars to help police frame someone, CASH! and that is never mentioned by news reporters either!

    Civilian operatives help police on and off for decades setting people up, civilian operatives are people that are not in law enforcement but actively help police in sting operations, and these civilians usually are paid under the table by police for their aid in framing people!!

    Doubles and photogenic photo’s and the false accusations of civilian operatives are the police usual way of framing people for serious crimes such as pedophiles or murder or robbery’s!

    I will give on example of how police use doubles to frame people and they use this tactic all the time and they always get away with it because no one questions police and blinding believes everything police say!

    Police commonly frame innocent people they are targeting as bank robbers, and here is how they do it, an officer will dress up as their target, and will stage, yes STAGE, a bank robbery at a bank where there are civilian operatives working at, and police will catch the staged robbery on fuzzy video surveillance!

    Police will give that fuzzy video surveillance to news reporters and that fuzzy video is shown on local TV news and is portrayed as a bank robbery caught on video, and news reporters will ask the public to contact the authority’s if you have any information that may lead to the arrest of the robber!

    What news reporters do not tell you is the target is already surrounded by police and operatives that are renting apartments surrounding the target, and that the actual robbery was nothing more than a staged event done by an officer dressed as his target, and operatives at the bank will just lie and back up any charges police want on their target.

    The target is a victim of a sting operation, and police and operatives are staging crimes in order to set their target up for the crimes!

    Sounds hard to believe? are you sure? remember they always show FUZZY video surveillance that does not clearly show the robbers face!

    Everyone knows banks have way way WAY better cameras than that, and everyone knows banks have cameras right at every teller window, so everyone knows banks are getting way better video surveillance!

    Police have used that dirty trick to frame people for decades and they get away with it over and over again because people blindly trust police, and police are so used to using those tactics over and over again that it is not likely that it will change!

    Police use doubles and photogenic photo’s and use civilian operatives that get paid cash to back up false complaints and police have used those tactics for many many decades!

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