Collier detective poses as teen girl to nab man on online solicitation charges

A 20-year-old man has been charged with soliciting for sex a Collier County Sheriff's Office detective he thought to be a 13-year-old girl.

Craig Mendes of Cooper City was arrested Thursday in Broward County on a Collier County warrant charging him with two counts of online solicitation and lewd and lascivious exhibition via webcam. Both charges are felonies.

Mendes also faces a felony charge out of Broward County for traveling to meet a minor, stemming from the Collier investigation.

In February, a Collier detective began an undercover chat operation in which he posed as a 13-year-old girl. During the course of the chat, Mendes solicited the detective for sex and asked if they could meet, according to detectives.

Through further investigation, the detective was able to identify Mendes' location, description and vehicle description. Text conversation via cell phone between the detective and Mendes continued on several more occasions. During the course of these chats and texts and continued online chats, arrangements were made for the detective and Mendes to meet in Cooper City in Broward County on Thursday, where Mendes was arrested.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in Broward County assisted in the arrest.

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