3 Volusia men arrested in nationwide online child sex predator operation

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Three Volusia County men were arrested in a nationwide child sex sting operation after the suspects sent explicit messages to and traveled to meet whom they thought were girls aged 15 or younger, the sheriff’s office announced Monday.

Deputies said they arrested the suspects — MarcAnthony Fernandez, 26; Christopher Alan Geske, 32; and William M. Baldwin, 30 — as part of “Operation Cyber Scumbag,” a sting coordinated by multiple law enforcement and criminal justice agencies state and nationwide.

According to investigators, Fernandez, of Deltona, thought he was communicating with a 12-year-old girl, texting her, “If we do this you can’t tell nobody” before arriving at the meeting place with a box of condoms.

Geske, of Port Orange, thought he was texting a 14-year-old girl, even commenting how he was “like twice your age” and bringing a box of condoms and a change of clothes to the meeting with deputies, the sheriff’s office said.

Baldwin, of New Smyrna Beach, was chasing after who he thought was a 15-year-old girl, deputies said, and was arrested holding the phone where he had the chats between them opened, according to deputies.

“While the ‘children’ in these cases were undercover detectives, Volusia County has seen child victims targeted by predators online,” the sheriff’s office wrote on social media. “This operation occurred a week after an online predator, 24-year-old Tyler Thompson, was sentenced to 40 years in prison after a Volusia sheriff’s deputy tracked him to an Edgewater motel room with a 13-year-old girl he met on Snapchat.”

Each suspect faces several charges, including using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, traveling to seduce/solicit/lure a child, attempted lewd and lascivious battery and use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.

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