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By Peter Holley -Washington Post

 

They called the operation “April’s Fools,” and not just because it took place during the first week of the month.

 

The Polk County Sheriff Office’s latest sting operation — in which undercover detectives lured suspected child predators to an undisclosed Florida location using fictitious online ads — was a not-so-subtle reference to the 18 men police netted.

 

They were young and old, ranging in age from 19 to 60. Some had lengthy criminal histories, and others were encountering the criminal justice system for the first time.

 

Five of the men told police they were married, and one had a newborn baby back home. Most were from the area, but one man who showed up at a Cracker Barrel to have sex with a 13-year-old boy — his wallet packed with cocaine and a hallucinogen — was in town from Alaska.

 

They included men who would otherwise blend in: A mechanic, an airline customer service manager, a hospital technician, a former firefighter, a football coach at a Christian academy, an employee at a Sea World theme park and another at Walt Disney World who allegedly told a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl that he wanted to do “everything” sexual to her.

 

“Now I got to tell my work and family that I got arrested for soliciting a 14-year-old for sex,” Jeffrey Erich Binder, a 26-year-old security guard at Walt Disney World, told detectives after his arrest.