The Volusia County Sheriff's Office arrested 13 people Aug. 8.
A days-long undercover operation in Volusia County resulted in the arrests of 13 men who exchanged sexually explicit messages with — and then traveled to meet – officers they believed were juveniles. Of those 13 suspects, two were from Ormond Beach.
An undercover officer started chatting with David Jaco, 61, Aug. 4, who used the online alias of "lookingdj." Even though the officer stated numerous times that he was a 14-year-old boy, Jaco continued to make sexually explicit comments to him, including: "What ever you want to learn."
The same day, an undercover officered reached out to 19-year-old Jacob Smoot, who used the name "Alex Taylor," and eventually started talking through texts. Smoot was aware the person he was talking to was 14 years old, and made comments such as: "Have you ever had sex," and "I'm asking because I know some 14 year Olds and they've done everything with a boy."
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office used social media sites, emails and text messages to arrange sexual encounters with undercover agents posing online as children 14 years old or younger. Some brought drugs, some brought condoms – each expressed a clear desire to have sex with the boy or girl he believed he was meeting.
“Our main goal is to protect the children and let these people know: we are there, we will go after them, and if they stick their heads up, we’re going to let the world know who they are,” Sheriff Ben Johnson said in a news conference Aug. 8 announcing the arrests.
Undercover agents working out of the Sheriff’s Office Operations Center in Daytona Beach, set up meetings with the defendants at several public locations throughout Volusia County, including Daytona Beach and Deltona. A mobile surveillance team tracked the suspects as they arrived at those locations, where deputies moved in to take them into custody.
Each defendant is charged with attempted lewd or lascivious battery, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure/entice a child, traveling to meet a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct and use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.
The 13 defendants are as follows:
- Richard J. Preira, 40 (DOB 3/2/1976), Daytona Beach
- Joshua Ellich, 23 (DOB 7/12/1993), Deltona
- Timothy Carl Tate, 40 (DOB 8/5/1975), Bumpass, Va., self-employed
- Anthony Onesi, 48 (DOB 10/1/1968), Lovettsville, Va., NASA contractor
- Nathan E. Daniels, 32 (DOB 10/18/1984), St. Augustine
- Jeffrey Goerke, 32 (DOB 5/26/1984), Titusville, construction worker
- Nathaniel J. Whiting, 37 (DOB 6/28/1979), DeLand
- Maxmillion V. Littman, 23 (DOB 7/30/1993), New Smyrna Beach, pizza restaurant employee
- Tyrik Williams, 18 (DOB 4/10/1998), Cocoa
- Javon A. Douglas, 20 (DOB 1/28/1996), Altamonte Springs, telemarketer
- Jacob Smoot, 19 (DOB 12/26/1996), Ormond Beach, electrician apprentice
- David Jaco, 61 (DOB 6/7/1955), Ormond Beach, dental office operations manager
- Michael Jackson, 26 (DOB 1/22/1990), Daytona Beach, auto/motorcycle repair
Benjerman Roy, 28 (DOB 8/7/1988), Orlando, is another suspect who fled.
“These people are predators,” Sheriff Johnson said. “They know how to talk to children. They can take a good child and turn them bad, put them on the wrong side. When you leave home to meet someone like that, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if they’re going to go willingly… become a victim of sexual abuse, or worst-case scenario, never come home. Parents have to get involved. They have to start watching.”
The operation was a joint effort that enlisted the cooperation of more than a dozen other Florida agencies. The Sheriff’s Office, its Major Case Unit and Crime Scene Unit and the Volusia Bureau of Investigation worked with the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the ICE-Brevard-Volusia Child Exploitation Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office for the Seventh Judicial Circuit, sheriff’s offices from Brevard County, St. Johns County, Okaloosa County and Jacksonville, and police departments from Daytona Beach, Gainesville, Tallahassee and Pensacola.