BRADENTON, FLORIDA – 43 men have been arrested in Operation Green Shepherd, an undercover online sex sting by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
The men were arrested after going to a local home where they thought they were meeting up to have sex with a child.
Among those arrested was a former sex predator, but many of them have good jobs.
Eugene Marshall is a sexual predator already on probation, while 35-year old Jeremy Wert is a St. Petersburg firefighter. His boss, Fire Chief James D. Large, said, “I’m disappointed, embarrassed, and angry about Wert’s behavior, and I’m glad the Manatee County sheriff’s investigation brought Wert’s behavior to light.”
Detectives say James Durkee tried to have sex with a 14-year-old boy and brought two bottles of lube and three condoms. Sheriff Brad Steube of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said, “They were expecting to have sex with a child under the age of 14 in most cases.”
10 News poured over the men’s backgrounds and found two firefighters in the bunch, including Walter Knoering, who is a volunteer fighter with the City of Punta Gorda. But we also discovered many of these men are businessowners like Iqbal Sodhi, who owns Vegas Winners Internet Sweepstakes. Alen Markley told detectives he is self-employed and Rene Torres said the same. He works for Torres Lawn Service, while Andre Maniscalco owns Lancet Indemnity.
Two of the suspects are engineers. Brian Peters is an engineer with Alfa Laval, while Jonathan Schafer is an engineer with Lockheed Martin.