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Police arrest eighth suspect in sex sting

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Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 12:54 am

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office arrested an Orange County man who believed he was going to have sex with a child as part of an undercover Internet sex sting.

Police charged Matthew J. Dettle, 32, of Winter Garden, Friday night with two counts of obscene communication and one count of using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony — all felony charges.

Dettle is the eighth suspect to date to be arrested by police as part of Operation Tailspin.

The operation, which lasted from July 18 to July 23, was a collaborative Internet sexual predator sting conducted by the sheriff’s office as well as the Alachua and Gainesville police departments.

Detectives, posing as 12- to 14-year-old children, spent five days exchanging phone calls, text messages and emails with sexual predators. Police lured the suspects to designated locations and arrested them.

During the operation, police arrested six initial suspects, which included Demarquarius D. Truitt, David A. Hurtt, Michael S. Smith, Dylan T. Kestel. Pierce C. Harrell, Dennis T. LaRoche.

On July 23, police arrested Raymond E. Wortham, who was an additional suspect caught by officers during the operation.

Despite police arresting Dettle several weeks after the sting ended, sheriff’s office spokesman Todd Kelly said it takes time for suspects to take the bait and travel to a set location.

“The detectives stuck with it until [Dettle] committed to meet with who he thought was an underage child,” Kelly said.

On Monday, details of the arrest were blacked out from the sheriff office’s report, but Kelly, in a phone interview, gave this account:

Through emails, text messages and recorded phone calls, Dettle believed he was talking to a 14-year-old girl.

Dettle talked with her about having sex and decided to drive from Winter Garden to Alachua County on Friday night to meet.

Kelly said while Dettle was driving, he sent the girl a text message, saying he purchased a six pack of Smirnoff Ice drinks for her.

When Dettle arrived to the designated meeting spot, detectives arrested and booked him into Alachua County Jail.

Dettle was in jail with a $75,000 bond but was released on Saturday after he posted bail.

Contact Chris Alcantara at calcantara@alligator.org.

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