Alabama man among 12 arrested in Florida child predator sting
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — Twelve people have been arrested in an undercover operation targeting child predators in Polk County, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The sting, titled Operation Child Protector II, was done in collaboration with the Auburndale and Winter Haven police departments.

Deputies said four of the suspects went to a location to have sex with girls they thought were 13 or 15 years old. Instead, they were greeted by undercover law enforcement.

The other eight suspects were arrested on warrants that alleged they groomed girls by sending them sexually explicit content.

One suspect, Zachary Hudson, was identified as a bus driver for Walt Disney World. Sheriff Grady Judd said Hudson would even have these sexually charged chats while on the job at Disney World.

“So if your bus was running late at Disney, he was busy taking pictures of himself and talking trash to what he thought was a little girl,” Judd said.

Two of the suspects were from out of the state, according to deputies. Judd said one suspect — George Elec Matthews, 66, of Ozark, Alabama — was arrested by military police while heading to work at Fort Rucker in Alabama.

The sheriff said Matthews had these chats both at home and at work.

“I hope he didn’t get so carried away with his chats that he forgot to put all the parts back on the Black Hawk helicopters,” Judd said. “That could be a real problem.”

“He’s not going to be flying here on a helicopter; I’ll guarantee that,” he added.

The 12 suspects face 49 felony charges in total. The suspects were identified as:

  • Lawrence Neu, 67, of Lakeland — charged with one count traveling to meet a minor for sex (F2), one count attempted lewd battery, four counts transmission of material harmful to minor (F3), one count use of a computer to seduce a child – enhanced, and one count use of a computer to misrepresent age and seduce a child
  • Francis Butler, 62, of Palm Beach Gardens — charged with one count traveling to meet a minor for sex, one count attempted lewd battery, and one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony
  • Timothy King, 26, of Clermont — charged with one count traveling to meet a minor for sex, one count attempted lewd battery, and one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony
  • Nando Catellar, 20, of Orlando — charged with one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F3), and one count transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)
  • Roger Fleury, 40, of Saint Clair, Michigan — charged with one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and one count transmission of material harmful to a minor
  • John Hughley, 43, Lehigh Acres — charged with one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and one count transmission of material harmful to a minor
  • Christopher Sean Velez, 33, of Tampa — charged with one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and three counts transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)
  • Zachary Clark, 26, of Tampa — charged with one count traveling to meet a minor for sex, one count attempted lewd battery, one count use of a computer to seduce a child, and one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony
  • Zachary Hudson, 30, of Reunion — charged with one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and one count transmission of material harmful to a minor
  • Michael Occhino, 57, of Kissimmee — charged with one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, three counts transmission of material harmful to a minor, and one count interference with custody
  • George Elec Matthews, 66, of Ozark, Alabama — charged with one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and two counts transmission of material harmful to a minor (F3)
  • Cameron Ohlin, 26, of Tallahassee — charged with one count use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and six counts transmission of material harmful to a minor

According to Judd, nine of the suspects had no prior criminal record.

“Wherever you are in the world, if you’ve been talking nasty and sending nasty pictures to what you thought was a child, we’re after you,” Judd said.

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