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Brandon Man Arrested During Chat Operation Facing More Charges for Sex with Minor

For Immediate Release : Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Release Number: 20-304


Wednesday October 14, 2020 5:17 PM


Brandon, FL
Brandon Man Arrested During Chat Operation Facing More Charges for Sex with Minor

A Brandon man arrested during a recent Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office online chat operation is now facing additional charges after detectives discovered he was engaging in sex with a minor he met online.
Flor-Adam Brandon Cruz, 24, was one of 22 men arrested during Operation Social Bust. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives posed as underage girls and boys on social media in an effort to locate online sexual predators.
Back in September, an undercover detective posing as a 15-year-old girl came in contact with Cruz after he initiated a conversation online. Cruz sent explicit text messages describing the sexual acts he wanted to perform on the underage girl and claimed he would help her gain experience with sex. Detectives were able to arrest Cruz during a traffic stop in Brandon.
Cruz is a high-risk sex offender who was just released from Florida State Prison in July of 2020. He is on felony probation until 2032 for lewd and lascivious battery on a minor.
After obtaining a search warrant for Cruz’s cellphone, detectives were able to identify a real 15-year-old victim with whom he was engaging in sex.
Detectives learned that Cruz used Uber to transport the teenage girl, who was reported as missing, from Pinellas County to his home to have sex with her on two separate occasions. Cruz filmed the sexual acts, and the videos were discovered on his cellphone.
In addition to his initial charges for using computer services/devices to solicit certain illegal acts, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, transmission of harmful material to a minor and violation of probation, Cruz will now face add-on charges of lewd and lascivious battery (3 counts), promotion of a sexual performance by a child, interference with child custody, and traveling to meet a minor after using computer services/devices to solicit certain illegal acts (2 counts).
“It sickens me that this convicted sex offender continued to prey on children even after serving time in prison for his heinous acts,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Had it not been for the thorough investigative work of our detectives well after Operation Social Bust ended, we would have never known about this juvenile who Cruz was taking advantage of repeatedly. This is exactly why we conduct these undercover chat operations. We want to find these sexual predators lurking online before they find our children."
The previous press release detailing Operation Social Bust can be found here.
A PSA from Sheriff Chad Chronister reminding parents of the importance of monitoring their child’s online activity can be viewed on the HCSO Sheriff YouTube channel.