A recent undercover operation in St. Johns County involving several law enforcement organizations resulted in 17 arrests on child-exploitation charges, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The suspects came from diverse backgrounds and included men from 19 to 60 years old, Sheriff David Shoar said.
Operation Cruel Summer took place about two weeks ago and involved undercover detectives posing as children online to arrange to meet in an eastern part of the county, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“The good news is the purpose of these operations are to protect children,” Shoar said.
It was the fourth time in the last six years that the department has used an undercover operation involving the internet to locate suspects who exploit children, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Operation Cruel Summer: 17 arrested on child sex exploitation charges
The operation involved the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office, sheriff’s offices from St. Johns, Putnam, Duval and Okaloosa counties as well as police departments from St. Augustine Beach, Orange Park and Gainesville.
The 17 suspects were taken into custody when they arrived at the undisclosed meeting location, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Shoar said most of the men arrested have criminal backgrounds. He said evolving technology means law enforcement agencies need to continue to adapt to the new ways people use to target children.
“We have to stay one step ahead of them,” Shoar said.
The following 17 men were arrested on charges ranging from traveling to meet a minor for sex to unlawful use of a two-way communication device: Donaciano Santiago-Lopez, 28, of Jacksonville; Daymon Ryan Collins, 19, of St. Augustine; Darwin Dumont, 22, of St. Augustine; James Andrew Allen, 31, of Middleburg; Joel Anthony Depew, 34, of Jacksonville; Lonnie Thomas Jr., 51, of Jacksonville; Eduardo Gonzalez, 41, of St. Augustine; Michael L. Cannimore, 24, of Jacksonville; Hunter Michael Brown, 20, of Jacksonville; Landon Todd Henderson, 20, of Jacksonville; Curtis Scott Todd, 27, of Elkton; Michael Wayne Jukes, 37, of Richmond, Va.; John Patrick Trojanowski Jr., 60, of Jacksonville; Storm Valentino Lathrop, 25, of St. Augustine; Zacharias Malcom Riley, 29, of Atlantic Beach; Joshua Alan Dunlap, 38, of Charleston, S.C.; and Carlos Joaquin Rodriguez, 28, of Palm Coast.
Joe Daraskevich: (904) 359-4308