Twenty-two people have been arrested following a police sting in Pensacola, Florida. The sting, named “Operation Undertow” targeted child predators online. Police officers involved with Operation Undertow posed as teenagers online and attempted to draw out the adults that were soliciting children for sex. The sting took place over five days, and was made in an effort to stop and prevent further abuse in the future. Most of the arrests made were in Pensacola, however, other arrests have been made in Alabama, as well as in Mississippi. Most shockingly, one of the men arrested was a pastor from Pace. Along with the pastor, names of twenty-one other offenders have been posted by police so far.
Police officers followed protocol when searching for these child predators, issuing warrants once they were contacted by the suspects and only arresting the men after they showed up to meet the children with the intention of having sex with a minor. Multiple websites were used to search out the pedophiles, and the entire effort was made in collaboration with the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, as reported by the Pensacola News Journal.
These individuals were arrested after traveling to locations to meet the teens for sex, and those arrested could face from five years up to life in prison. The youngest offender was 18 and the ages range up to seventy-one years old. While there have only been twenty-two names released, there could potentially be more men arrested, as police are still following leads related to the sting.