Disney employees were arrested during an undercover human trafficking sting known as “Operation March Sadness 2,” which began on March 8 and lasted six days, which ended with the arrest of more than 100 people in Florida.
The raid netted 108 people, including a retired Illinois judge and four Disney employees, during the operation aimed at combating human trafficking, prostitution and child sex abuse, CBS News reported.
At a news conference Wednesday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office identified the Disney workers involved in pedophilia.
“The arrests of a human trafficker and four child predators alone makes this whole operation worthwhile,” said Grady Judd, the county sheriff’s deputy. “Where there is prostitution, there is exploitation, disease, dysfunction and broken families,” he added.
In the operation, undercover detectives contacted the suspects online posing as minors. They then set up meetings to finally arrest them.
Among the Disney employees arrested were identified as Xavier Jackson, 27, who worked as a lifeguard at Polynesian Resort for Walt Disney. “Judd said Jackson sent inappropriate photos of himself and messages to an undercover detective who pretended to be a 14-year-old girl,” CBS said.
The other three were apparently trying to solicit prostitutes. “Wilkason Fidele, 24, who worked at the Cosmic Restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland for four years; Shubham Malave, 27, who is on a visa citizenship from India and worked as a software developer for Disney; and Ralph Leese, 45, who spent nearly four years working in IT for Disney,” the report revealed by Judd said.
The sheriff’s office said members of anti-trafficking organizations would talk to the prostitutes to determine if they were victims of human trafficking and offer assistance.
According to what Disney told CBS News in a statement, Leese, Fidele and Jackson were immediately placed on unpaid leave and assured that Malave is not an employee of the company.