MANATEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office concluded a weeklong undercover sting operation, beginning on September 10th and ending on Monday, which resulted in the arrest of 43 people.
Eric Baum of Naples, Gary Cristina of Port Charlotte, and Walter Knoeringer of Arcadia were among those arrested.
Detectives went online in various undercover capacities and subsequently set up meetings with the men at an undercover home in Manatee County. The men went to the residence, believing they were meeting up with a juvenile for a sexual encounter. They were arrested on charges including Travel to Seduce, Solicit or Entice a Child to Commit Sexual Act and Use of a Computer to Seduce, Solicit or Entice a Child to Commit Sexual Act.
The investigation is ongoing with additional arrests and charges forthcoming.
FDLE, ICE, the Bradenton Police Department, and the Sarasota, Polk, Lee and Lake County Sheriff's Offices are assisting in the investigation.