A sting operation by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the arrests of eight men who traveled to the area reportedly with the intent of having sex with what they believed were minors.
Four other men, including one from Massachusetts, were arrested on warrants for allegedly sending harmful material via the internet to what they believed were underage children.
“To the would-be vile individuals that are doing this and are seeking children in Marion County, be assured that I will find you, I will put handcuffs on you, and I will put you in my jail,” Sheriff Billy Woods said during a press conference on Monday announcing the arrests.
With the help of local, state and federal officials, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office held a sting operation where the defendants believed they were communicating with a boy or girl between the ages of 13 and 15. Instead of meeting the “minor” in a location to have sex, the eight defendants were arrested.
“My deputies will spend hours upon hours hunting you down. Now, my job is bringing people to justice, but if it was my choice, I’d bury you under the jail – if I could,” Woods said.
Jason Sciongay, 34, Hernando; Dunte Campbell, 31, Jacksonville; Koree’ Lee, 26, Ocala; Jose Cruz Ordonez, 33, Ocala; Bryant McCullough, 33, Anthony; Ryan Boyette, 25, Spring Hill; Donald Dziadyk, 61, Ocala; and Lonny Blankenship, 51, Lake City, were arrested on charges of traveling to meet a minor for sexual conduct, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child and use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony. Additionally, Campbell was arrested for possession of drug equipment. Dziadyk and Boyette were also charged with transmitting harmful information to minors.
Robert Salch, 22, Brooksville; Robert Hilse, 31, Lawrence, Massachusetts; and Robin Strickland, 21, Gainesville; were arrested on warrants accusing them of using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony and transmitting information harmful to minors. Allen Vasquez, 18, Jacksonville, is accused of transmitting information harmful to minors.
During the operation, the undercover officers received messages from the men that reportedly included sexually explicit content, including sexually explicit images in some cases, according to sheriff’s reports.
“Evil is around us every moment, every second of every single day,” Woods said. “This is evil in its purest form. This is at the top of the list.”