SARASOTA, Fla. – A Lehigh Acres man was among 13 arrested in an online predator sting dubbed “Operation Intercept IV,” the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
Keith Howard, 45, of 3418 29th St. West, is charged with use of a computer to solicit a child to commit sex act, travel to solicit a child to commit sex acts and lewd or lascivious battery – attempted.
The men, who range from ages 18-53, responded to internet-based ads, online apps or social media sites and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal conversations, authorities said.
“Some of the men sent explicit photos and several brought condoms with them,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Ultimately they all traveled with the intent to have sex with a male or female child.”
Most sexual predator operations involve suspects who travel from across the state, but all of the men arrested either live in or near Sarasota County, said Sheriff Tom Knight, who added it was concerning that so many people responded to the ads in three days.
“This should be a reminder for parents to remain cognizant of their children’s online activity,” he said in a statement. “Know what they are doing and who they are talking to.”
Below is the list of others arrested:
Jeffrey J. Bosma, 24, Bradenton
Robert Clemmons, 33, Sarasota
Joseph Circone, 21, Sarasota
Javier Garcia, 21, Sarasota
Jorge Hernandez-Mendoza, 26, Bradenton
Reed Herron, 23, Sarasota
Holland Incitti, 24, Arcadia
Craig Lacourse, 18, North Port
Jon Nichols, 53, North Port
Jose Ortega, 21, Wimauma
Ian Panton, 23, St. Petersburg