POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office has arrested 16 men in an undercover sting targeting men accused of seeking to have sex with children.

  • 16 men arrested in undercover child sex sting in Polk County
  • Sting took place between March 10 and March 16 
  • Suspects facing a total of 42 felony charges including attempted lewd battery and use of a computer to seduce a child

Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrests Tuesday morning, which included a registered sexual predator; a Navy veteran who works for Disney Vacation Club; an assistant youth soccer coach; a grandfather with 9 grandchildren and two full-time college students. 

The oldest suspect is 59 and the youngest is 21. 

The sting lasted for seven days in early March.

Detectives from the Desoto, Hillsborough, Lake, and Osceola Sheriff's Offices, and the Tampa and Altamonte Springs Police Departments, also participated in the operation.

According to Judd, the suspects traveled from across the state, including Winter Garden, Plant City, Orlando, Clermont, Oviedo, Tampa,  Lakeland, Ruskin, Brooksville, and Davenport thinking they were going to mee children between the ages of 12 and 14 years old.

The 16 suspects face a total of 42 felony charges which include: traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, transmission of material harmful to a child, and violation of probation.