NewsHillsborough County


75 people arrested during Super Bowl week in human trafficking operation

operation game over pic 1.jpg
Posted at 12:43 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 02:33:26-05

More than 70 people were arrested during an investigation aimed at combating sexual exploitation in Hillsborough County during the Super Bowl week.

The operation also resulted in the recovery of six people believed to be victims of human trafficking.

Throughout the course of the investigation dubbed "Operation Game Over," which started Monday, February 1, and ended Saturday, February 6, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office arrested a total of 75 people accused of seeking to either buy or sell sex.


Undercover deputies targeted massage parlors, hotels, motels, and online chatrooms known for illicit activity.

Those arrested were as young as 19, and as old as 73 years old.

"The sickening practice of human trafficking is a crime that is nothing less than modern day slavery," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Escaping the wrath of a trafficker takes courage and in some cases, is nearly impossible. For this reason we have not and will not relent in our efforts to stop the demand and we are accomplishing this one arrest at a time."

Three of the men arrested have been charged with human trafficking.

In one of those cases, a 17-year-old victim was recovered. The teen was taken into custody by HCSO's Child Protective Investigations Division, and the other two victims in that particular case were connected with Selah Freedom, a local non-profit that provides services and counseling to human trafficking survivors.

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"Individuals who buy sex, whether they know it or not, may be exploiting a human trafficking victim for their own pleasure," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Those who offer sexual services may be doing it against their will and an arrest may be their only chance at freedom."

Operation Game Over was executed across the county. 32 people were arrested at hotels and motels, 27 people were arrested along roadways, eight women were arrested at massage parlors, and eight men were arrested for engaging in explicitly sexual online chat conversations with undercover detectives they believed to be minors.

Frank Hicks, 31, Joseph Garcia, 27, Tyler Scalici, 26, Keith Prevatt, 34, and Cori Avery, 31, all face felony charges for traveling to a hotel to meet the juvenile with the intention of having sex.

"While the Super Bowl has come and gone, our fight against human trafficking is far from over," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "We will remain vigilant to rescue individuals from the cruel and miserable underworld of human trafficking and pursue those who propagate this despicable practice."