108 people were arrested in a human trafficking sting operation in central Florida, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced on Wednesday.
“The arrests of a human trafficker and four child predators alone makes this whole operation worthwhile,” Sheriff Judd said during a presser on Wednesday. “Where there is prostitution, there is exploitation, disease, dysfunction and broken families.”
Four Disney employees and a retired judge were among the people arrested in the sting.
108 Arrested in Human Trafficking Sting "Operation March Sadness Two" in Central Florida
Includes 4 Disney Employees
Xavier Jackson, 27, works as a lifeguard at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, thought he was meeting with a 14-year-old girl for sex. pic.twitter.com/9EyY4Qo5Sk
— An Open Secret (@AnOpenSecret) March 16, 2022
CBS News reported:
Authorities have arrested 108 people, including alleged child sexual predators and those seeking prostitutes, in a six-day undercover human trafficking operation in Florida. Among those taken into custody were four Disney employees and a retired judge, police said.
During their operation, which they called “Operation March Sadness 2,” detectives found prostitutes who had posted online advertisements through various websites and social media platforms to identify people who were seeking them out. They also identified adults who they thought were inappropriately communicating with children.
Undercover detectives then communicated online with these suspects before meeting them at a location and arresting them. Members of anti-trafficking organizations also responded, speaking with prostitutes and offering them services and counseling, the sheriff’s office said.
Officials identified four Disney employees as among those arrested. Xavier Jackson, 27, worked as a lifeguard at the Polynesian Resort for Walt Disney. Judd said Jackson sent inappropriate photos of himself and messages to an undercover detective who pretended to be a 14-year-old girl. He was charged with three counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor and one count of unlawful communication.
The three others, who were allegedly attempting to solicit a prostitute, were identified by Judd as: Wilkason Fidele, 24, who worked at the Cosmic Restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland for four years; Shubham Malave, 27, who is on a visa citizenship from India and worked as a software developer for Disney; and Ralph Leese, 45, who spent nearly four years working in IT for Disney.
Watch Sheriff Grady Judd’s presser: