Teacher and Military Personnel Caught in Large Human Trafficking Raid

(DailyVantage.com) – Florida authorities recently busted a large human trafficking ring, which resulted in more than 200 arrests. Among the arrested suspects are United States military personnel and a local teacher. Additionally, 21 of the detained suspects illegally entered the United States before their arrest.

Sheriff Grady Judd, a law enforcement officer known for his frequent updates regarding Polk County’s criminal investigations, shared details about the massive bust and the suspects’ identities.

According to Judd, approximately 150 people detained by law enforcement were frequent customers of prostitution. Authorities arrested three members of the United States military during the human trafficking sting, along with a former deputy who worked in Judd’s department. The sting also resulted in two teenagers’ arrest due to their attempt at robbing an undercover officer involved in the bust. Judd said that more than 60 of the suspects were actively engaged in the sex trade. While the bust uncovered a large prostitution ring, Judd said that some of the people discovered by authorities could be victims of human trafficking.

The bust comes as the latest in a year-long attempt by Florida authorities to prevent human trafficking and save victims of the heinous crime. Judd said that so far, Florida authorities have saved more than 50 victims of human trafficking. The massive bust is the most significant human trafficking sting in Florida’s history, according to Judd, and authorities are committed to providing victims of human trafficking services to recover from the heinous crime successfully.

The human trafficking bust resulted from an eight-day operation, known as “Operation March Sadness,” from the Vice Unit at Judd’s department. Detectives from seven other departments and members of a local fire department aided in the historic human trafficking rescue. Also involved in the bust were multiple children’s service groups to assist the potential victims of human trafficking and a local Florida attorney to help with any legal challenges.

Authorities charged 150 men with solicitation of a prostitute and an additional eight suspects with profiting from the sex trade or aiding prostitutes through transportation. Florida authorities issued more than 358 charges against the suspects, the majority of whom have lengthy criminal histories. According to Judd, Polk County authorities are still working with other services to identify each of the victims and provide them with adequate care.

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