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Five Men Arrested After Internet Predator Operation

Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 3:10PM

Written by Kristen Schmutz

Belden Communications News

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According to a news release sent out by Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, VCSO detectives have arrested five men on charges of luring a child for sex.

 

These arrests are direct results of an internet sting operation that will be repeated in the future with online activity on the rise in the country.

 

With so many kids spending time online due to COVID-19, VCSO and its Law Enforcement partners are taking steps to detect and prevent predatory behavior. The latest effort, "Operation Illicit Solicit," started Wednesday, deploying undercover chatters posing as children. In each case listed here, the chatter was posing as a 14-year-old child.

 

Those that were arrested as a part of the sting operation were:

 

John Henry Hill, 33, of Daytona Beach, was arrested at Frank Rendon Park in Daytona Beach Shores. Hill is on conditional release (not guilty because of insanity) regarding a previous charge of first-degree murder. In 2007, Hill strangled a fellow patient in a psychiatric unit at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

 

Hill was charged with using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, traveling to seduce/solicit/lure a child, attempted lewd or lascivious battery, use of a 2-way communication device to commit a felony. Hill is currently in custody with a bond revoked in a prior murder case.

 

Kenneth Mullis, 32, of Astor, was arrested at Frank Rendon Park in Daytona Beach Shores. Mullis brought Code Red Mountain Dew at the request of the chatter.

 

Mullis was charged with using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, traveling to seduce/solicit/lure a child, attempted lewd or lascivious battery, use of a 2-way communication device to commit a felony. Mullis is currently in custody on a $65,000 bond.

 

Robert Hersey, 31, of DeLand, arrested at Frank Rendon Park, in Daytona Beach Shores.

 

Hersey is charged with using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, traveling to seduce/solicit/lure a child, attempted lewd or lascivious battery, use of a 2-way communication device to commit a felony, driving while license revoked (habitual). Hersey is currently in custody on a $62,500 bond.

 

 

Vinyak Sawant, 35, of Daytona Beach was arrested at home (did not travel).

 

Sawant is charged with using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a 2-way communication device to commit a felony. Sawant is an Indian national who was initially admitted to the U.S. on a crew member visa for a cruise-liner but has been absconded. He has no bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail while he is held on a detainer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

 

Ronald Foley, 29, chatted with an undercover detective whose profile picture was a 15-year-old girl. In 2018, Foley was arrested after traveling to meet a minor child for sex during Operation Unlawful Attraction. He again chatted with detectives during 2019's Operation Deviant Desire, and a judge restricted him from Internet access and social media. This week, after Foley again chatted up an undercover detective, a judge revoked his bond in his 2018 case.

 

Foley was taken into custody Wednesday morning near Big Tree Rd, and Nova Rd. in Daytona Beach.

 

The operation was a joint effort with the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the ICE-Brevard-Volusia Child Exploitation Task Force, Department of Homeland Security, Flagler County Sheriff's Office, State Attorney's Office and U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida.

 

Sheriff Mike Chitwood stressed that the Sheriff's Office will continue to devote attention to would-be predators and registered offenders in Volusia County. Deputies are also conducting routine and random checks on registered sex offenders and predators throughout the county.


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