Crime

31 arrested in Manatee-Sarasota online child predator sting

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 31 people in a sting called Operation Intercept, with the intent to protect Manatee and Sarasota counties' children from online predators.

All 31 suspects responded to Internet-based ads and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal conversation, according to a Sarasota sheriff's Office press release. The suspects agreed to come to a location in Sarasota County with the intent to have sex with a child or children, the sheriff's office said. When the suspects arrived, they were met by detectives and placed under arrest.

“Predators establish contact with kids through chat rooms, instant messaging and discussion boards,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “The anonymity of the Internet allows these criminals to seem like caring individuals, but they’re only looking for vulnerable victims. Parents, you have to be your child’s protector and monitor what they are doing online.”

Arrests included Jon-Erik Holschback, 27, of Bradenton, who is charged with use of computer to seduce or entice a child to commit sex acts.

He is also charged with transmission of materials harmful to a minor by electronic device.

Ronald Daly, 30, of Parrish was arrested and charged with use of computer to seduce, solicit or entice a child to commit sex acts; travel to seduce, solicit or entice a child to commit sex acts; and possession of cannabis.

Darrion Hart, 23, of Bradenton, and Mark Kuhn, 48, of Bradenton are charged with use of computer to seduce, solicit or entice a child to commit sex acts; travel to seduce, solicit or entice a child to commit sex acts.

Mark Proveaux, 38, is charged with use of computer to seduce, solicit or entice a child to commit sex acts; travel to seduce, solicit or entice a child to commit sex acts, possession of marijuana; and possession of drug paraphernalia.

(See attached document for all 31 arrested in the sting.)

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office conducted the operation with the assistance of the Bradenton Police Department, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the Sarasota Police Department, Venice Police Department, North Port Police Department, the State Attorney’s Office and other members of the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task force.

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