HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — Authorities say nine people, including a Delray Beach man, have been arrested in a statewide human trafficking investigation.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials arrested 67-year-old James William Hancock on Thursday.
Also among those arrested is 38-year-old Matthew Doyle, a firefighter from the Tampa area.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said on Friday this major investigation started in 2017 after authorities received an anonymous tip about an online ad offering a minor for sex at a home in Brooksville. An address and phone number were listed in the ad.
Within 24 hours of getting that tip, authorities launched an undercover sting operation and rescued the minor. The minor is now safe and recovering at a shelter for sex trafficking survivors.
Moody said, over the last two years, that minor has assisted law enforcement officers with identifying the trafficker and locating customers.
Arrested in the sting are:
- James William Hancock, 67, Delray Beach
- Luigi Barile, 38, Spring Hill
- Matthew Christopher Doyle, 38, Spring Hill
- Joseph Andrew Easton, 24, Inverness
- Bryan Joseph Giguere, 36, Homosassa
- Shawn Christopher Henson, 39, Newberry
- Latchman Kaladeen, 49, Wesley Chapel
- Lawrence Edward Kemble, 70, Ocala
- Jason Michael Raulerson, 46, High Springs
The Tampa Bay Times reports East Lake Fire Chief Tom Jamison immediately suspended Doyle without pay. He's worked for the agency since 2005.
The suspects face charges of human trafficking, lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim between 12 and 16, and unlawful use of a two-way communications device.
WPTV and the Associated Press contributed to this report.