Beginning on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, through Sunday, June 5, 2016, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives conducted a five-day undercover investigation targeting human trafficking. PCSO detectives focused on prostitutes posting online advertisements, “johns” seeking prostitutes in an online environment, “pimps” and other seeking to profit from prostitution, and online predators seeking contact with children. Detectives posted fictitious ads and responded to ads posted on the website backpage.com. The Lakeland Police Department assisted with the investigation.
“We conduct investigations such as this one to expose the criminal misconduct and behavior people engage in online and through mobile aps. We continue to find predators online attempting to lure children into sexual activity. Their behavior is always the same—they seek out vulnerable victims, engage them in conversation and quickly attempt to lure children into explicit sexual conversations, urging them to send sexually explicit images and meet for sex. Our detectives will continue to arrest those who prey on Polk County’s children.
Once again, we have seen the link between prostitution, drug crimes, economic crimes such as burglary and fraud, violent crime, and human trafficking – these crimes destroy families, individuals, and negatively affect our communities. We have learned over many years that when we pay attention to public order and quality of life crimes such as prostitution, we can reduce and prevent other crimes while strengthening the community.
Prostitution is not a victimless crime. From the spread of disease and destruction of families to human trafficking, prostitution is bad for our community. In areas where prostitution is allowed to flourish, property values decline and drug and property crimes increase. In some cases, children and adults are forced to prostitute while under the control of pimps. Most of those arrested have previous criminal histories including very serious felonies, property crimes, and drug crimes. In other words, those who prostitute, pimp for prostitutes, and seek out prostitutes are more likely than not to have committed other crimes. Non-criminals who seek to engage a prostitute are endangering their safety and the safety of their families—it is a dangerous cycle. – Sheriff Grady Judd
A total of 128 suspects were arrested. Of those 19 told detectives they were married, 21 told detectives they received monthly public assistance, and 2 had been arrested in previous PCSO undercover operations for the same crime.
69 of the suspects had previous criminal arrest histories which included a total of 215 prior felony charges and 384 prior misdemeanor charges; 3 of the suspects have been to state prison for their crimes.
Of the 128 suspects arrested, 4 adult male suspects contacted undercover detectives, whom they believed to be children 14-years-of age. One suspect (24-year-old Jae-il Byun of Havertown, PA) traveled to the undercover location planning to pay $60 to have sex with whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl.
A second suspect (25-year-old Micah Casper of Davenport) solicited an undercover detective whom he believed to be a 14-year-old boy sending the undercover detectives nude images of himself and asking for nude images in return.
The third suspect, a 31-year-old married man (Jordan Allen Raskin of Longwood) who receives monthly assistance, contacted the undercover detective using a mobile app. During the conversation, the suspect acknowledged the child’s age wasn’t an issue stating, “I am kinda into younger girls,” then asking what grade the child was in being advised 9th grade. After his arrest, the suspect told detectives he fantasized about younger girls.
The fourth suspect a 53-year-old Kissimmee man (Michael Davis), who told detectives he works at Universal Studios as a ride mechanic, contacted the undercover detective, whom he believed to be a 14-year-old boy. During the conversation, the suspect asked the “boy” for nude photos and described the sexual activity he was going to engage in with the “boy.” The suspect traveled to the undercover location where he was taken into custody.
One female victim arrived at the undercover location with two male suspects. Undercover detectives responded to an ad posted online regarding her prostitution services. She told the detective she would engage in sex in exchange for $400. After her arrest, she told detectives that the two men who dropped her off and picked her up required her to provide them any money she made through prostitution in exchange for taking care of her and providing her with food. Those two male suspects are: 29-year-old Jason Agniel Fraser of Casselberry, and 21-year-old Joel Dipre no known address – details and their charges appear below.
In total, there were 78 suspects charged who were offering sex in exchange for money; 32 suspects who offered money in exchange for sex, 11 suspects who drove prostitutes to the location deriving proceeds from the activity, 2 suspects who accompanied other suspects, 4 suspects who solicited undercover detectives whom they believed to be 14-year-old children in sexual activity, and 1 suspect arrested for no valid driver’s license.