Operation Protector nabs 14 pedophile scumbags

From a Disney employee to an unemployed grandfather, 14 men in Polk County are charged with numerous counts of possessing child pornography.

Twelve of the suspects were rounded up in a raid early this morning by detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s office. The other two already had been in jail on unrelated charges.

“It goes much further than child pornography,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “It is sexual abuse of children.”

Operation Protector, a month-long investigation, uncovered tens of thousands of images of child porn.

“We are dealing with 42,000 images of the abuse of children,” Judd said.

Some of the images were of 2-years-olds.

Several of the accused were taken from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to a waiting van to be transported to jail.

While walking to the van, one of the men charged, Justin Hlibechuk, told reporters he had several DVDs containing child pornography and that he believes he has a problem. He said he was abused as a child and raped by his brother but that it was no excuse for what he did.

Arrested were:

Paul Fazio, DOB 10/9/40, of 845 Blue Dolphin Avenue in Davenport; charged with 50 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography. Fazio works at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He is on unpaid leave pending the investigation.

Jon Boyd, DOB 10/22/69, of 2869 Kiwi Avenue in Winter Haven; charged with 40 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography

Jason Copeland*, DOB 1/27/80, of 315 West Park St in Lakeland; charged with 50 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography (*already in jail for DWLSR)

William Dukes, DOB 4/30/54, of 747 Oak Point Circle in Davenport; charged with 50 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography

Edward Finneran, DOB 12/28/44, of 4927 S. Gachet Blvd. in Lakeland; charged with 50 counts possession

Calvin Fritch, DOB 10/13/59, of 1650 Avenue E NW in Winter Haven; charged with 50 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography

Andrew Hilson, DOB 8/21/43, of 305 Belvoir Drive in Davenport; charged with 50 counts possession

Justin Hlibechuk, DOB 11/8/85, of 1609 Warren Avenue in Lakeland; charged with 13 counts possession

Craig Johnston, DOB 12/7/44, of 600 Lundy Drive Lot 14 in Auburndale, charged with 10 counts possession

John Mihalek, DOB 10/7/54, of 4927 S. Gachet Blvd. in Lakeland, charged with 50 counts possession

Allan Roth, DOB 12/20/30, of 1994 Scenic View Loop in Lakeland, charged with 40 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography

Forrest “Clay” Silas*, DOB 5/12/60, of 6211 US Hwy 98 North in Lakeland, charged with 2 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography (*Silas was already in jail on drug charges)

Frank Unum, DOB 9/4/42, of 2230 Crutchfield Road in Lakeland, charged with 50 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography

James White, DOB 8/9/82, of 1930 West Marjorie Street in Lakeland, charged with 1 counts possession and 1 ct promotion of child pornography

Each charge carries bail of $5,000, deputies say.

“Some of these men knew each other,” a sheriff’s office news release states. “In fact, one of the suspects led detectives to three others. When detectives served a search warrant at Jason Copeland’s residence, they were able to obtain probable cause to then serve search warrants at the residence of John Mihalek and Edward Finneran, who live together, and Justin Hlibechuk’s residence as well.”

Polk sheriff’s Computer Crimes detectives previously had two similar operations involving child pornography. Operation Sentinel, from January 2007 to March 2007, led to 10 arrests. Operation Defender, from October 2007 to February, led to 21 arrests.

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