California School Board Member Among 213 Suspects Arrested in Florida Human Trafficking Sting

California Man Scott Wooden, 60, was arrested during one of Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd’s undercover human trafficking stings dubbed “Operation Traffic Stop.”

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Wooden, married with two children, is a Del Mar Union School District (San Diego) board member and was among 213 people arrested in a human trafficking operation in Florida, authorities announced Thursday.

Scott Kenneth Wooden

According to the charging affidavit, an undercover detective was contacted by Wooden via an escort ad posted on an online service.

Through text messages and phone conversations, Wooden and the undercover detective arranged to meet up “for either $50 for oral sex, $150 for oral and vaginal sex with a condom, or $200 for oral and vaginal sex without a condom.”

Wooden, per the documents, met the undercover detective and told the detective that “he wanted to have oral and vaginal sex without a condom and paid her $200 in cash.”

Officers then took Wooden into custody without incident and transported him to the Polk County Jail, where he was charged with soliciting another to commit prostitution.

Wooden was released from Polk County Jail on Feb. 13 after he posted $500 bail, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

Thursday morning, the school district put out this press release referencing Wooden.

This morning the Del Mar Union School District learned of the arrest of Board Member Scott Wooden in Polk County, Florida on charges involving solicitation of prostitution. While we do not yet know all the details and circumstances of this incident, the allegations are shocking and extremely concerning. The District is continuing to learn more about this incident as information becomes available, and the Board is exploring options for any related action with its attorneys. On behalf of the entire Board, you have our commitment that our Superintendent and all staff will continue to focus on our important work each day in support of the students of the Del Mar Union School District.

Later that afternoon, the district put out another press release on Wooden’s resignation.

“We want to inform you that the Del Mar Union School District received notification that Scott Wooden has resigned from the District’s Governing Board of Trustees effective immediately,” “The Board is currently exploring options to fill the vacancy. We will keep the community informed as the district moves through this process.”

Operation Traffic Stop was a 7-day human trafficking operation headed by The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Vice Squad and staffed with multiple Law Enforcement agencies, both local and state, and several social services agencies.

Those who traveled to provide prostitution services were screened by detectives and social services organizations to determine if they were being trafficked or exploited by others. They were offered assistance by the social services organizations at the operation. During this investigation, 24 possible human trafficking victims were identified from the 111 prostitutes who were arrested.

Eighty-nine suspects were arrested for soliciting a prostitute and traveling to the undercover location to negotiate sex in exchange for money. 13 other suspects were arrested. Of those, ten were either deriving proceeds from prostitution or aiding and abetting prostitutes.

“Not only did we arrest more suspects during this single operation than we have ever arrested before, we identified 24 human trafficking victims – the highest number of victims we’ve ever rescued during one of these investigations. The valuable relationships we have with the social services organizations who join us in these operations make it possible for these women to get help and be emancipated from this way of life.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff.

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Some interesting notes from the operation:

• Five suspects were previously arrested by PCSO during a similar undercover operation, and two were just arrested during the September 2022 “Operation Fall Haul II.”

• 14 arrested are suspected of being in the country illegally (13 from Cuba and one from Mexico), and six of the 14 were identified as victims of human trafficking.

• 35 suspects told detectives they were married.

• Detectives charged those arrested with 68 felonies and 308 misdemeanors.

• Several suspects have criminal histories, including violent felonies such as kidnapping, robbery, aggravated assault, and sex offenses.

• 22 suspects told detectives they received government assistance.

• Detectives seized fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana, from those arrested during the operation.

• Two suspects brought firearms to the undercover location – Rydreka Harris and Horace Levatte.

Other stories you may want to read:

Florida Man Who Took Superbowl Selfie with Justin Timberlake Arrested

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