Two men from the Tampa Bay area are among the 41 people authorities arrested this month during an undercover sting targeting online child predators, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
The investigation began June 8 and ended Sunday. A dozen law enforcement agencies, including Tampa investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and St. Petersburg police, were involved in the sting that took place in an undisclosed location in Polk County.
Among those arrested was Howard Van Huddleston, 53, of Brandon. Investigators say he drove to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl, the Polk Sheriff's Office said. He was arrested June 10 and faces several charges, including attempted lewd battery and traveling to meet a minor.
The investigation also led to the arrest of Floyd Edward Weir, 65, of Dunedin, accused of traveling to meet a minor. Weir was arrested Friday. Charges against him include use of a computer to solicit a child and attempted lewd battery.
Those arrested included 13 people from Polk County and three others from Georgia, Wisconsin and Alabama.
Among those arrested is a costumer's assistant at Disney World, a full-time college student and a certified public accountant and lawyer, authorities said.