#minorsextrafficking | 21 arrested in Panama City Beach child sex trafficking sting | WDHN


Update as of 5:30 p.m.

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach investigators arrested 21 men in a child sex trafficking sting in late May.

During a Wednesday morning news conference Panama City Beach Police said the charges in Operation Rogue Wave included traveling to meet a minor for sex, solicitation of a child, and possession of child pornography.

“There are detectives that work undercover on the internet and they pose as children. In most cases, we were posing as 14 or younger. And so these people find them, they’re out there literally searching the internet for your child. And they just happened to find us,” PCBPD Assistant Commander to Criminal Investigations Tommy Anderson said.

The sting began on May 18 and ended just four days later on the 22nd. Six men were arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography.

One of those men was a 70-year-old Panama City Beach man.

“If this doesn’t represent the threat that our children are facing I don’t know what does. We’ve said this time and time and time again, the internet is not a safe place it is not a place our children need to be unsupervised,” PCBPD Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said.

19 of those arrested are from the Panhandle.

“These were local potential predators that were looking to victimize our children,” 14th District Judicial State Attorney Larry Basford said.

Panama City Beach Police said children often don’t know what to look for on the internet.

They said kids need more parental supervision online.

“They don’t know what to look for, for bad people. We have so many different websites and chat programs, applications through their phone. There is so many different avenues predators have to talk to our children,” PCBPD Captain John Deegins said.

While almost two dozen suspects were arrested, Talamantez said their search isn’t over.

“The ones that are probably breathing a sigh of relief because we didn’t take them into custody, to you guys I’m telling you we’re not done,” Talamantez said. “We have your phone number we have your IP address and we’re going to be knocking on your door pretty soon, might as well come over to the police department, turn yourself in and let us know what you did.”

Investigators have issued warrants for three more men, one each from Alabama, Texas and Florida.
They’re being charged with soliciting a minor for sex.


PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach investigators arrested 21 men in a child sex trafficking sting in late May.

During a Wednesday morning news conference Panama City Beach Police said the charges in Operation Rogue Wave included traveling to meet a minor for sex, solicitation of a child, and possession of child pornography.

One man was arrested for felony drug and weapons charges and another on a sexual battery charge out of Alabama.

Operation Rogue Wave ran from May 18 and May 22 and targeted people who wanted to travel to have sex with minors or people who tried to send ‘harmful material’ to minors, officers wrote in a news release.

Panama City Beach Police partnered with the state attorney’s office, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the FDLE, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children during the operation.

This is a developing story and we will have more information as it becomes available.



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