Authorities in Polk County said more than 100 people have been arrested and charged in a six-day-long undercover operation.
- 114 people arrested and charged, Sheriff Grady Judd said
- 6-day probe focused on prostitution, human trafficking
- Suspects ranged in age from 17 to 64
The probe — dubbed "Operation Not So Silent Night" — focused on suspects advertising prostitution in online ads and human trafficking.
A total of 114 people were arrested, and warrants were filed on two other people.
During the investigation, female undercover detectives posted fictitious ads online, and male undercover detectives responded to ads posted online by others.
"It was something only made for television," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a Thursday news conference. "You have an ambulance there. You have prostitutes there. You have pimps there. You have other pimps and prostitutes showing up. It was quite a show for a while."
Wide array of suspects arrested
The suspects ranged in age from 17 years old to 64 years old. The Sheriff's Office highlighted some of the arrests in a news release:
— Matthew Phillips, of St. Cloud, is the director of elementary curriculum for the Osceola County School District. The 42-year-old arrived at the undercover location to have sex with a prostitute, authorities said. He is married. He was arrested and charged with offer to engage in lewdness and battery (he's accused of grabbing the undercover detective against her will).
— Matthew Irvin, of Oakland, told detectives that he told his wife he was going out to buy Christmas presents for his children, but he came to the undercover location instead to have sex with a prostitute. Irvin, 50, was arrested and charged with offer to engage in lewdness.
@PolkCoSheriff talking about the sex sting suspects. @BN9 pic.twitter.com/vozp7tpckk— Stephanie Claytor (@ClaytorReports) December 15, 2016
— Michael Campanaro, of Clermont, identified himself as a corrections officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Coleman. The 33-year-old was arrested and charged with offer to engage in lewdness.
— Michael Bonislawski, of Davenport, told detectives his pregnant wife was at home, and that their baby was due the same day he showed up to the undercover location. The 40-year-old was arrested and charged with offer to engage in lewdness.
Of the 114 people charged, 50 were alleged prostitutes, 51 solicited to pay for prostitution and two were arrested for traveling to meet a minor.
Osceola County Schools employee among the 114 charged
Osceola County resident William Arroyo has nieces who will soon be enrolled in the county's school system. Arroyo expressed disappointment and anger at the news of Matthew Phillips' arrest in the sting.
"As a parent and an uncle, it disgusts me," Arroyo said.
Phillips had been working with Osceola County Schools for about a decade. Before becoming director of curriculum as part of the school board, he was a principal and an assistant principal within the county.
An official with Osceola County Schools said Phillips has been placed on leave. The matter remains under review by the district's human resources department.
For parents like Arroyo, however, that's not enough.
"I feel like they need to step up their game," Arroyo said. "And they need to keep on doing what they're doing and try to catch more of these people that are doing this."
The investigation is still underway. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).
Read the full news release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office here.