Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested three men this week who believed they were meeting up with children for sex, but instead ran into undercover officers.
On Monday, the sheriff’s office announced the results of Operation Cyber Scumbag, which is part of a nationwide undercover operation that targets online predators.
According to police, the three men each sent several sexually explicit messages to undercover officers that were posing as children between the ages of 12 and 15.
Video shared by VCSO shows the moments that each of the men were arrested.
One of the men, 26-year-old MarcAnthony Fernandez of Deltona, thought he was talking to a 12-year-old girl and told her that she couldn’t tell anyone about their exchange. Upon arrival, Fernandez was arrested and found in possession of a box of condoms that he had purchased along the way.
Christopher Alan Geske, 32, of Port Orange, thought he was texting with a 14-year-old girl and stated “I am like twice your age lol” during the conversation. Geske indicated that he would “ruin” the girl “for all other men” from him “being so good.” Geske also brought condoms and a change of clothes to the meeting.
William M. Baldwin, a 30-year-old man from New Smyrna Beach, told the 15-year-old he believed he was talking to that it was his first time “trying to chase after, take the virginity of, and love a 15-year-old” girl. When arrested, Baldwin was holding a cell phone displaying his chats with the undercover officer.
Each defendant was charged with using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, traveling to seduce/solicit/lure a child, attempted lewd and lascivious battery, and use of a 2-way communication device to commit a felony. Baldwin was also charged with possession of methamphetamine.
The case comes just one week after a 24-year-old man was sentenced to 40 years in prison after a Volusia County Sheriff’s Deputy tracked him to an Edgewater motel room where he had kidnapped and was forcibly having sex with a 13-year-old girl he met on SnapChat.
“We’re not going to stand by while predators try to lure kids away from their families to steal their innocence,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said following the operation.