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Gallery: Nearly 300 people arrested during undercover human trafficking sting

Operation No Tricks, No Treats arrests. (Polk County Sheriff's Office)

A week-long investigation resulted in the arrest of 277 suspects involved in human trafficking and online prostitution.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, detectives working in "Operation no tricks, no treats" posted fake ads and profiles online posing as prostitutes or people soliciting prostitutes. The operation took place from Oct. 10 to Oct. 16.

Some detectives responded to ads posted by prostitutes, while several suspects responded to the fake ads and even drove to meet undercover detectives posing as prostitutes.

Detectives say 215 suspects drove to Polk County from various counties across Florida or were visiting Florida from: Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Authorities say only 62 suspects were Polk County residents.

Deputies say 51 of the arrests were people advertising as prostitutes online, while 209 of the arrests were those who solicited undercover detectives posing as prostitutes. Seventeen other arrests were made those who make money from prostitution or other offenses.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says this is the largest arrest stemming from an operation in the department's history. Investigators say they found five possible victims of human trafficking during the operation.

"We are committed to fighting human trafficking, by arresting those who engage in prostitution and trying to identify human trafficking victims," Judd said. "It's no secret...you need to stay out of Polk County if you're going to commit crime."

Authorities say those arrested face a total of 334 charges, including human trafficking, traveling to meet a child for sexual conduct, transmit material harmful to a minor, soliciting another person for prostitution, offer to commit prostitution and more. Of the arrests, investigators say 36 of the charges are felonies and 298 are misdemeanors.

Those already arrested had a combined prior history of 897 charges (371 felony, 526 misdemeanor), according to the sheriff's office.

The youngest suspect is 16 years old, according to the operation report. The oldest suspect is 74 years old. Sheriff Judd states that 68 of the suspects were married.

Several agencies were involved in this operation, lucidness: Haines City P.D., Lakeland P.D., Lake Wales P.D. and Winter Haven P.D. along with members of the State Attorney's Office.



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