Putnam County is a largely rural area located south of Jacksonville, Florida. In March 2018, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office announced the completion of “Operation Be Mine,” an undercover online child sex sting in Putnam County that led to the arrest of 14 men. The investigation targeted adults who preyed on children using social media and other forms of online communication. During the operation, the men either traveled with intent to have sex with a minor or solicited a minor over the internet for sexual purposes. The suspects range in age from 18 to 63. Of those arrested, three are local, including a high school student in Putnam County. The Sheriff’s Office said some men drove as far as two hours away to have sex with a child between the ages of 11 and 14. A college student from Gainesville and a member of the Florida Army National Guard were among those arrested. A current inmate serving a life sentence was also charged with sending explicit photographs to a child using a cellphone he smuggled into prison. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deputies also announced the arrest of a corrections officer who reportedly used Facebook to solicit a woman for sex. The man solicited sex from an undercover detective via Facebook Messenger, according to a police report. The report says he agreed to pay $75 and asked her to meet him at a local Circle K business on State Road 20. He texted the woman and said, “I am waiting for you” when he got there, and was then arrested and taken to the Putnam County Jail and charged with a misdemeanor for solicitation. His bond amount was set at $500.
- Putnam County Sheriff’s Office
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Shaming:
- “Florida deputy arrested for soliciting prostitute on Facebook, deputies say.” Action News Jacksonville, March 21, 2018.
- https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/putnam-sheriff-14-arrested-in-online-child-sex-sting/712600313 (2018)
- https://www.wuft.org/news/topics/putnam-county-sheriffs-office/ (2018)
- http://www.1430wcmy.com/2019/08/08/questions-on-surveillance-use-linger-in-lasalle-count-prostitution-sting/ (2019)
- https://www.mywebtimes.com/2019/06/27/putnam-county-lawyers-solicitation-of-sex-case-continued/av3603d/ (2019)