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Florida Man Arrested after Undercover Agent Posed as 13-year-old Online to Lure Him; Travelled to Meet Minor to Do ‘Adult Stuff’ with Her: Authorities

Florida Man Arrested after Undercover Agent Posed as 13-year-old Online to Lure Him; Travelled to Meet Minor to Do ‘Adult Stuff’ with Her: Authorities

A man was apprehended by Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies for engaging in online sexual communication and attempting to meet up with an individual he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. However, unbeknownst to him, the person he was communicating with was an undercover agent.

A 29-year-old man named Triston Cothern from Ocala was taken into custody on Tuesday at the Sunoco located on West Silver Springs Boulevard. According to the arrest affidavit, the individual had arranged to meet someone they believed to be underage through a dating app called “Whisper.”

According to investigators, the conversations between the Homeland Security Investigations agent and Cothern began on June 10, with the agent posing as a minor. They switched to the messaging app “Telegram” and had explicit conversations.

Cothern inquired with the HSI agent about her personal interests and attempted to persuade her to engage in inappropriate activities.

Authorities report that Cothern made disturbing comments about his past interactions with underage girls, suggesting that he had engaged in sexual activity with individuals who were significantly younger than him.

Cothern informed the HSI agent that the girls were sisters who later relocated to Texas. However, the report lacks any further information regarding these purported encounters.

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After their discussions on Monday, they decided to meet at a nearby gas station and spend the day together. It seemed that Cothern had offered to take the minor to his home. Shortly before 2 p.m., Cothern notified the HSI agent that he was on his way to the Sunoco.

Marion County Sheriff’s deputies were prepared to apprehend him at that location. Cothern sent a text message to the HSI agent, expressing his anticipation for someone’s arrival.

Following a period of observation, law enforcement officials apprehended the individual and subsequently placed him in custody at Marion County Jail as per WCJB News.

In 2013, Cothern found himself in Marion County jail facing felony and misdemeanor charges of burglary and petit theft.

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