Disney employees among 108 arrested in Polk County prostitution, human trafficking sting
>> LOCAL,E, LIV LATE-BREAKING, WESH 2 NEWS STARTS RIGHT NOW. >> TSHI VIDEO, STORMYEATH WER HITTING THE CENTRAL FLORIDA COAST. THIS IS VIDEO SENT BY THE VIEWER AND THE SATELLITE BEACH AREA. ALL TH– ALL THAT NOISE, THAT IS HAIL HITTING THE ROOF. MICHEL:LE THIS IS THE SECOND DAY OF WICKED WEATHER AND TONIGHT STORMS ARE BRINGING A DIFFERENT THREAT FROM THE ONE FROM 24 HOURS AGO. JIM: WE HAVE TEAMED COVERAGE, TRACKING THE VERY LATEST WATCHES AND WARNINGS. TO:NY SHOW A VERY DIFFERENT END, TODAY IS WE GIVE YOU A LIVE LOOK TORSO KENNEDY SPACE CENTER BREVARD COUNTY. TODAY THE HLAI AND THE WIND THE BIG FOCUS AND LAST NIGHT WE HAD THE WIND IN THE ROTATION WITH SOME OF THOSE THUNDERSTORMS ON THE CULPRIT IS THIS UPPER LOW AND THIS SPRINGTIME COLD FRONT WHICH IS USHERING IN THAT RISK FOR SEVERE STORMS. ALTHOUGH BEGINNING TO WANE NOW WE OSTF TOWN AND STILL WITH US HERE AS WE GET TOWARDS THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE PENINSA.UL SO, THERE IS THE BIGGEST CLUSTER OF STORMS NOW THROUGH THE INTERIOR. THE BIG STUFF ATTH WAS STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORM ONE THUNDERSTORM HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO EXPIRE AS MUCH OF THE ENERGY HAS MOVED OFFSHORE THERE. AND WE’VE HAD NUMEROUS REPORTS OF HL TAIO THE SIZE OF HALF AN INCH TO AN INCH AND A QUARTER OVER TOWARDS THE SATELLITE BEACH AREA. ONE REPORTS COMING IN AROUND 204:F O ONE INCH DIAMETER HAIL SOUTH OF THE SAINT PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE. THAT’LL MOVE OFFSHORE HERE AS WE GO THROUGH THE NEXT 15 TO 20 MINUTES, AS THE MOVEMENT OF TODAY’S SHOWERS AND STORMS IS RACING OFF TO THE NORTHEAST NOW AT 30O T 40 MILES AN HOUR. BIG THUNDERSTORM RIGHT OVER APOPKA. THEY ARE GOING TO RACE UP TOWARDS PAISLEY IN TOWARDS THE WEST SIDE OF DEBARY, 6:29. RIGHT THERE. BRAND-NEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING AS THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF THAT IS COMING OFF LAKE APOPKA IS RACING NOW OFF TOWARDS THE EAST-NORTHEAST AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO WATCH THAT FOR OUR VIEWERS IN LONGWOOD, DEBARY AND UP TOWARDS GENEVA. WH AT I’VE DONE IS TAKEN THE WHOLE THING BUT THE STORM US THUNDERSTORM IS DOWN HERE, AND THAT WILL MOVE ACROSS LONGWOOD AND HEATHROW. ONEF O THE THINGS WE ARE WATCHING ARE THE STRONG GUSTY WINDS, 35, EVEN 55 MILE AN HOUR WINDS. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING AND FARTHER TO THE NORTH AND THE EAST, WE’V’ SHOWN YOU MANY PIECES OF PHOTOS AND VIDEO THERE OF LARGE HAILSTONES IN AND AROUND NEW SMYRNA BEACH. THIS IS GOING TO BE STICKING AROUND FOR A FEW MORE HOURS. CAM: THE BIGGEST CONCERNS IS DEFINITELY THE HAIL AS WELL AS ETH POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGING WINDS. WE GOT A LOT OF REPORTS ALREADY. WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOU SENDING IT INTO US, ESPECIALLY SAFELY OUT THERE. HERE ARE SEOM OF THE STORM REPORTS WE HAVE GOTTEN OUT THERE SO FAR. THE MAJORITY OF THEM HAVE BEEN HAILEP RORTS BECAUSE, BOY, HAVE WE SEEN SOME POTENT HAIL OUT THE.ER AS WE ZOOM IN TOWARDS NEW SMYRNA BEACH. TONY MENTIONED WE HAVE SOME IMPRESSIVE HAIL. ABOUT 1.8 INCHES IN DIAMETER OUT THERE TOWARDS NEW SMYRNA BEA.CH AND, EVEN OUT TOWARDS BREVARD COUNTY WE HAVE REPORTS OF HA.IL AN INCH SIZED HAIL NEAR PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE. WE TALKED ABOUT THESE ONE INCH HAIL, TWO INCH ILHA, WHAT ESDO THAT MEAN IN COMPARISON? WE’RE TALKING ABOUT QUARTER SIZED HAIL AND EVEN GOLFBALL-SIZED HAIL. IMPRESSIVE HAIL SIZES COMINING WITH THESE THUNDERSTORMS. NOW, TAKING A LOOK AT THE IMPACTS OF THE REST OF THE EARLY EVENING. STRONG WINDS, HAIL THREAONT THE HIGH SIDE, SEVERE WINDS ON THE MODERATE SIDE. TORNADO THREAT LOOKS FAIRLY LOW. THE GOOD NEWS, THIS IS NOT A LONG-DURATION EVENT BY ANY MEANS. YOU STILL SEE STORMS LINGERING TILL 7:00 OR 8:00 AND INTO TONIGHT WE WILL SEE AN ISOLATED SHOWER AROUND FOUR COASTAL AREAS BUT THE WORST OF IT WILL BE DONE BY THE TIME WE GO TO 8:00 TONIGHT. TOMORROW WE WILL GET IN SOME SUNSHINE. TONY MAINOLFI WILL TALK MORE ABOUT THAT NICE WEATHER COMING IN LATER IN THE SHOW. MICHEL:LE WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT. WESH2 NEWS WTHEAER IS WORKING TO KEEP YOU UP-TO-DATEN O CHANGES TO THE FORECAST. FOR THE LATEST DETAILS, GET THE WESH 2 NEWS APP ANDUR TN ON ALERTS FOR SEVERE WEATHER IN YOUR AREA. THE SUSPECT IN ETH MURDERS OF A DAYTONA BEACH HUSBAND AND WIFE MADE HIS FIRST APPEARANCE IN A VOLUSIA COURTROOM TAKE. GENE MCKEAN WAS ARRESTED FOLLOWING A MANHUNT. JIM: HE WAS TRANSFERRED TO VOLUSIA COUNTY TO FACE CHARGES. MCKEENS I BEING HELD WITHOUT BOND. >> PLEASE TELL YOUR NAME. >> GENE MACEAN. >> YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER. >> TWO COUNTS OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER AND WHAT POLICE CALL VICIOUS KILLINGS. TERRY AND BRENDA WERE RIDING BICYCLES WILL BE 1:00 A.M. INTO AMR SIX WHEN THEY WERE ATTACKED IN THE 700 BLOCK OF NORTH WILD OLIVE AVENUE STABBEDND A SLASHED. A PERSON OF INTEREST WAS IDENTIFIED AND PICTURED DAN VIDEO CIRCULATED. POLICE SAY TIPS AND LEADS TOOK THEM TO AN ORLANDO APARTMENT COMPLEX AND SUSPECT MACEAN. >> I’M FINDING PROBABLE CAUSE BASED TONHE WORN AND SCENTING — SETTING BOND AT NINE AND APPOINTED A PUBL DICEFENDER. >> MACEAN CONTEST AND THOUGH THEY SAID THE CRIMES WERE RANDOM, HE DID NOT KNOW THE VICTIMS, INVESTIGATORS HAVE NOT REVEALED ANY KIND OF MOTIVE. NO COMMENT FROM THE PROSECUTOR ORUB PLIC DEFENDER ASSIGNED TO THE CASE. THE PUBLIC DEFENDER DID NOT CHALLENGE THE WARRANT ARREST. >> THERE WAS PROBABLE CAUSE FOR THE WARRANT. RFO BOND I WOULD TAKE THAT AT AN EARLIER DATE. >> WHEN THE SUSPECT WAS BOOKED, A THIRD CHARGE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRTAN ALIEN APPEARED. >> THEY SAID THAT THE SUSPECIST FROM HAITI AND HIS CITIZENSHIP IS FMRO HAITI. THAT DOCUMENT FROM THE DEPONENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY HAS PLACED THE SUSPECT ON IMMIGRATION DETAINER OR HD.OL JIM: MACEAN HAS ANOTHER COURT DATE SET FOR APRIL 5 WHEN HE WILL BE ARRAIGNED ON ALL CHARGES PICK MICHELLE: INVESTIGATORS IN SEMINOLE COUNTY NEED HELP FINDING A WOMAN REPORTED MISSING BY HER FAMY.IL 37-YEAR-OLD JULIE NOPINGER HAS NOT BEEN SEEN SINCE FEBRUARY 26. HER FAMILY SAYS THERE ARE TIMES WHEN SHE IS NOT AROUND FOR A FEW DAYS BUT NEVER THIS LENGTH OF TIME. AL,SO CONCERNING TO THEM, HER PHONE IS OFF AND HAS BEEN SINCE SHE WAS LA SSTEEN. SHE MAY BE DRIVING A 2013 NISSAN ALMATI, LICENSE PLATE NPQ-A35. IF YOU CAN HELP, REACH OUT TO THE SEMINOLE COUNTY SHERIFF. WHAT BEGAN AS A DRUG INVESTIGATION IN SANFORD ENDED WITH A DISCUSSION OF 14 MALNOURISHED DOGS CAGED IN A BACKYARD AND NOW A SFOANRD MAN IS BEHIND BARS. MICHELLE: SANFORD POLICE RELEASE BO CDYAMERA VIDEO FROM THE INVESTIGATION. JIM: WE ARE JOINED IN THE STUDIOIT WH WHAT THEY FOUND. >> THEY FOUND 14 DOGS COVERED IN FECES AND MAGGOTS. THAT IS WHEN INVESTIGATORS SAY THEY DISCOVERED IN DENNIS VAN’S BACKYARD. THIS IS NOT HIS FIRST RUN-IN WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT. ENWH INVESTIGATORS FIRST CAME TO DENNIS VAN’S HOME LAST WEEK THIS IS WHAT –AS W NOT WHAT THEY WERE EXPECTING TO FIND. 14 DOGS CAD,GE COVERED IN FEC ES AND MAGGOTS. SOME OF THEM COULD HAVE LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES. >> PUPPY. YOU ARE A GOOD PUPPY. >> INVESTIGATORS SAY THEY ORIGINALLY CAME TO VANN’S HOME LAST WEDNESDAY WITH A SEARCH WARRANT WHEN HE SWA CHARGED WITH THE INTENT TO SELL COCAINE AND MARIJUANA AND POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A CONVICTED FELON. THE 56-YEAR-OLD HAS A LONG RAP SHEET OF 19 OTHER CHARGES AND CONVICTIONS, MOSTLY DRUG-RELATED. SO, AFTER INVESTIGATORS DISCOVERED THIS, SEVERAL COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES CAME BACK THE NEXT DAY. [BARKING] AND REMOVED THE DOGS. >> I KNOW, BABY. >> MEANWHILE, THEY ADD — >>O N POSSESSION OR CONTACT WITH ANY ANIMALS AT THIS TIME. >> AFTER INVESTIGATORS ARRESTED HIM THE DAY BEFORE ANY FACES FOUR FELONYND A TEDD MISDEMEANOR ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES. >> NO POSSESSION OF ANY ANIMALS AS A CONDITION OF THE BOND. >> REPORTED TO THE POLICE REPORT, VANN SAID HE WAS RECENTLY SICK AND UNABLE TO CARE RFO THE DOGS. >> WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT THERE? >> WE REACHED OUT TO DENNIS VAVNN’S ATTORNEY AND HAVE NOT HEARD BACK. ACCORDING TO SUMNER COUNTY, ALL THE DOGS ARE BEING QUARANTIDNE AND TREATED. IT IS UNCLEAR IF THEY WILL BE UP FOR ADOPTION SINCE THIS IS STILL AN OPEN INVESTIGATION COULD THE COUNTY AS THE DOGS NEED TO BE MONITORED FOR TEMPERAMENT. MICHELLE T:HANK YOU. SHOCK AND GEFRI IN FORT LAUDERDALE AFTER A FORMER EMPLOYEE SHOT AND KILLED ANOTHER EMPLOYEE. A MEMORIAL CONTINUES TO GROW OUTSIDE OF SHOOTER’S WATERFRONT RESTAURANT WERE DOZENS PAID THE RESPECTIVE 35-YEAR-OLD JORDAN — HE WAS SHOT BY 33-YEAR-OLD ANGEL CANDALARIA WHO USED TO BE HIS COWORKER. THE SHOOTING MAY HAVE BEEN OVER ISSUES OF A WOMAN. JIM: A WINDEMERE MAN IS FACING SEVERAL CHARGES INCLUDING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AFTER AN ORAENG COUNTYHE SRIFF DETECTIVE SAY HE USED HIS PHONE TO RECORD UNDER WOMEN’S DRESSES AT GROCERY STORES. HNJO MEHALOVICH PUT THE CAMERA AT THE BOTTOM OF THEAR CT AND FOLLOWED WOMAN AROUND WHILE THEY SHOPPED. DETECTIVES FOUND IMAGES OF VIOLENCE SEX ACTS INVOLVING CHILDREN ON HIS PHONE. INVESTIGATORS WANT TO KNOW IF THERE MAY BE VICTIMS. IF YOU KNOW ANYTHG,IN CALL THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE. MICHELLE: DISNEY WORKERS PLAN TO WALK OUT DURING THEIR BREATHS NEXT WEEK TO– BREAKS NEXT WEEK TO RESPONSE TOHE T DON’T SAY GAY BILL. IT IS BEING ORGANIZED BY LGBTQ WORKERS AND IT WILL HAPPEN IN FLORIDA AS WELL AS IN CALIFORNIA. THE WORKERS SAY THE STATEMENT FROM DISNEY LEADERSHIP FAILED TO MATCH THE MAGNITUDE OF THATRES TO THEIR COMMUNITY. THE LEGISLATION BANS CONVERSATIONS FOF SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR GENDER IDENTITIES IN KINDERGARTEN THROUGH GRADE 3 .CHAPEK HAS APOLOGIZED FOR THE DELAY ON THE COMPLETE RESPONSE. JIM: AN ORLANDO MAN IS AND MILES OF THE UKRAINE BORDER WORKING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. HE WAS BORN IN GERMANY BUT HAS BEEN IN THE U.S. SINCE THE LATE 1980’S. SEEING THE WAR, MADE IN DECISIVE THING HAD TO BE DONE SO THE ORLANDO MAN RAISE $40,000 ONLINE. PROMISING TO SPEND EVERY LAST DOLLAR ON SUPPLIES FORHE T REFUGEES FLEEING UKRAINE. HE SAYS HE NEEDED TO BE ON THE GROUND TO SEE THE GROUPS FEOFRING THE MOST HE,LP THE ONES HE FELT WOULD BE BEST TO SUPPORT. >> I WILL KNOW WHO I HAVE TO WORK WITH OVER HERE, WHAT WE DO, I CAN EXCITED TO PEOPLE THAT ARE DONATING AND C IAN ASSURE THEM THAT IT GOES TO THE RIGHT PLACE. JIM: HE WILL STAY IN EUROPE FOR A FEW MORE DAYS BUT SAYS THE EFFORTS WILL CONTINUE EVEN AFTER HE RETURNS TO CENTRAL FLORIDA. THE WORLD WAS WATCHING UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ZELENSKY’S SPEECH TO CONGRESS THIS MORNING AND SO WAS THE UKRAINIAN COMMUNITY AND CENTRAL FLORIDA. WE WENT TO T UHEKRAINIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN APOPKA TO GET THEIR REACTION ON PRESIDENT ZELENSKY’S WORDS AND THE HOPE FOR HIS COUNTRY. >> I TOTALLY SUPPORTIM H, BECAUSE UKRAINE NEEDED THAT MESSAGE WAY BEFORE TODAY. WE ARE TRYING TO EXPRESS OUR NEEDS IN A MILITARY CONTEXT. JIM: THE CHURCH IS STILL TAKING DONATIONS TO SEND TO UKRAINIANS WHO HAVE EVACUATED AND ARE ON THE FRONT LINES. MICHEL:LE IT IS SPRING BREAK SEASON AND THE FLOODGATES HEAV OFFICIALLY REOPENED AS VACATIONERS ARE RACING TO TROPICAL DESTINATIONS IN RECORD NUMBERS. SPRING GETAWAY HOTSPOTSIKE L FLORIDA, MEXOIC AND HAWAII ARE SEEING INCREASED LOVE 211%. IN FEBRUARY ALONE AMERICAN SPENT $6.6 BILLION IN FLIGHTS, TOPPING PRE-PANDEMIC NUMBE.RS SGA PRICES ARE IMPACTING SOME PLANS, BUT FOR OTHERS, THE NEED TO GET AWAY IS WORTH IT. >> I THINK THE SENTIMENT IN THE U.S.S IE’RE W GOING TO TAKE THE TRIP AND ENJOY ENJOYS- – OURSELVES BECAUSE WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE. MICHELLE: IN NEW SMYRNA BEACH THE CITY IS HOLDING A SPECIAL MEETING TO DISCUSS IMPLEMENTING A YOUTH CURFEW. WE WILL HAVE MORE TONIGHT ON WESH 2 NEWS AT 10:00. JIM: A CENTRAL FAMILY FLORIDA — CENTRAL FLORIDA FAMILY RECORDED THIS VIDEO IN PONCE IN LAND. >> IT’S A LITTLE FIN STICKING UP IN THE WATER. JIM: THE SHARK WAS SPOTTED SWIMMING CLOSE TO THE SHORE. VOLUSIA COUNTY RECORDED 15 SHARK BITS LAST YEAR. EVERYONE SURVIVED. MICHELLE: TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. JIM: LOOKS LIKE A PRETTY BIG ONE, ACTUALLY. MICHELLE: STAFFING SHORTAGES AND ONE FLORIDA COUNTY ARE MAKING TAKING
Disney employees among 108 arrested in Polk County prostitution, human trafficking sting
The Polk County sheriff said more than 100 people were arrested in a prostitution, human trafficking and child predator sting.Polk County detectives, along with a few other agencies, said they identified sex workers who posted advertisements online. They also identified the people searching the web for those sex workers.Sheriff Grady Judd said the 108 people arrested, include a retired judge from Illinois, a few restaurant managers and several who work at Disney. One of the suspects is 27-year-old Xavier Jackson from Kissimmee. Judd said he’s accused of sending sexual pictures to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.”Did I mention that he just happens to be a lifeguard at the Polynesian Resort for Disney? You think there’s a few children around there? That’s right, I didn’t stutter. He was a lifeguard at the Polynesian Resort. And was bragging about that,” Judd said.We reached out to Disney officials who confirmed three of the four suspects mentioned by the sheriff work for the company.Along with Jackson, the sheriff says 24-year-old Wilakson Fidele works at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland and 45-year-old Ralph Leese is employed by the company in their I.T. department.A Disney representative tells WESH 2 News, all three of them have been placed on unpaid leave.Most of the 108 arrests were for soliciting a prostitute.The sheriff said they also arrested one woman for trafficking another woman. The oldest person arrested was 67 and the youngest was 17.Judd said the suspects could face more charges once they finish their investigation.“We have the traveling charges, we have the using the computer charges, the harmful material charges… the attempted lewd battery charge if they travel,” he said.
The Polk County sheriff said more than 100 people were arrested in a prostitution, human trafficking and child predator sting.
Polk County detectives, along with a few other agencies, said they identified sex workers who posted advertisements online. They also identified the people searching the web for those sex workers.
Sheriff Grady Judd said the 108 people arrested, include a retired judge from Illinois, a few restaurant managers and several who work at Disney.
One of the suspects is 27-year-old Xavier Jackson from Kissimmee.
Judd said he’s accused of sending sexual pictures to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
“Did I mention that he just happens to be a lifeguard at the Polynesian Resort for Disney? You think there’s a few children around there? That’s right, I didn’t stutter. He was a lifeguard at the Polynesian Resort. And was bragging about that,” Judd said.
We reached out to Disney officials who confirmed three of the four suspects mentioned by the sheriff work for the company.
Along with Jackson, the sheriff says 24-year-old Wilakson Fidele works at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland and 45-year-old Ralph Leese is employed by the company in their I.T. department.
A Disney representative tells WESH 2 News, all three of them have been placed on unpaid leave.
Most of the 108 arrests were for soliciting a prostitute.
The sheriff said they also arrested one woman for trafficking another woman. The oldest person arrested was 67 and the youngest was 17.
Judd said the suspects could face more charges once they finish their investigation.
“We have the traveling charges, we have the using the computer charges, the harmful material charges… the attempted lewd battery charge if they travel,” he said.