Fort Rucker contract worker arrested in Florida child predator sting operation
POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WSFA) - A south Alabama man was one of multiple suspects arrested as part of a Florida child predator sting operation, according to Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd.
George Elec Matthews, 58, of Ozark, is charged with one count of use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and two counts of transmission of material harmful to a minor. According to Judd, Matthews worked at Fort Rucker in Dale County.
Judd said his office and several others in Florida conducted a two-week undercover operation dubbed “Operation Child Protector II.” Detectives began posing as children on social media platforms, mobile apps and online dating sites in early June to investigate “those who prey upon and travel to meet children for unlawful sexual activity.”
Judd said a total of 12 suspects were arrested in the operation, with Matthews being the only one from Alabama.
According to the sheriff, Matthews began chatting with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl on June 4. Matthews allegedly told the detective his name and age and said he was “old enough to be her grandfather.”
Matthews sent obscene photos to the undercover detective and told her he wanted to visit her in Florida after he “got some stuff straight” in Alabama, the sheriff said. He also reportedly revealed to the undercover detective that he works for a military contractor supporting helicopter flight training.
The sheriff noted that Matthews reportedly committed the crimes both while off duty and while he was working on the military installation.
Following the interaction, Florida detectives got a warrant for Matthews’ arrest, the sheriff said, and he was taken into custody by Fort Rucker military police when he arrived for work on June 9.
Matthews is being held in the Dale County Jail while awaiting extradition to Florida.
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