Corrections officer one of many arrested in child sex sting operation

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Victor Cruz Jr.
Corrections Officer Victor Cruz Jr.

A Marion Correctional Institution officer, identified as Victor Cruz Jr., 23, was arrested and charged with Traveling to Meet a Minor, Soliciting a Child for Sex, and Unlawful Use of a Two-way Communications Device While Committing a Crime.

Veteran Marion County sheriff’s deputy was in possession of pre-teen child erotica photos, will not face charges

Also arrested, was Ire Bethea Jr., 38, son of Ocala City Council President, Ire Bethea. Bethea Jr. was charged with Soliciting a Child for Sex, Traveling to Meet a Minor, Unlawful Use of a Two-way Communications Device While Committing a Crime, and Kidnap-Engage in Human Trafficking CHild under 18.

Bethea believed he was talking to a 14-year-old girl and solicited her for oral sex. He was actually speaking to an FDLE agent.

The conversation went as follows:

Bethea, Jr.: You available.

FDLE agent: You see me on.

Bethea, Jr.: Yeah.

FDLE agent: ok.

Bethea, Jr.: Qv (for quick visit).

FDLE agent: so u know I am really 14 that ok or no.

Bethea, Jr.: Ummm u take cashapp.

FDLE agent: sry cash only.

Bethea, Jr.: That’s OK wya (where you at).

FDLE agent: ocala u.

Bethea, Jr.: ocala ok that’s fine where I meet u at.

FDLE agent: what u want.

Bethea, Jr.: QV head (slang for oral sex).

FDLE agent: what all u wanna do in the qv.

Bethea, Jr.: Head.

FDLE agent: ok.

Bethea, Jr.: Wya (where you at).

FDLE agent: u know where the mall is.

Bethea, Jr.: Yeah.

FDLE agent: when.

Bethea, Jr.: 10-15 mins gotta take out some cash your at the mall.

FDLE agent: live near the mall.

Bethea, Jr.: yeah.

FDLE agent: ok how much cash u bring.

Bethea, Jr.: 60.

FDLE agent: k. what u drivin. u close before I walk up there.

Bethea, Jr.: Yeah bout to leave the store it’s a white car.

The two agreed to meet at the Paddock Mall where Bethea Jr. was taken into custody.

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Ire Bethea Jr

Additionally, Wesley Hicks, 44, a Marion County school district contractor was arrested on the same aftermentioned charges. Hicks will no longer be allowed to enter school grounds.

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Wesley Hicks

So far, 23 men have been arrested and four have outstanding warrants. 22 of the 27 men are locals. Five are from Georgia and New York.

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Robert Coppola

Robert Coppola was arrested on a warrant in Volusia County.

As for the corrections officer at MCI, an all-male prison, located at 3269 NW 105th St. it is unclear if he has been terminated. Ocala Post reached out to the public affairs department for DOC, but a response was not received at the time this article was published.

 

 

MCSO sergeant resigns following child erotica allegations, no charges filed

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