In ancient Roman mythology, the winged archer deity Cupid serves as the god of romantic love, erotic desire, attraction, and affection (the old-time Greeks called him “Eros”).
Classically, Cupid is the son of the love goddess Venus and Mars, the god of War. Many ancient artworks portray Cupid riding a dolphin to blast mortals with arrows that turned them gaga for one another. Sometimes he could also turn into a bee.
Now, of course, Cupid is typically depicted as an adorable flying baby surrounded by hearts, and his appearance heralds the coming of chocolate, flowers, and Valentine’s Day.
The following four undercover law-enforcement operations used variations on the term “Operation Cupid” for their codenames. As with the aforementioned arrows and the flying insect guise, each one also delivered their “stings.”
1. “Operation Cupid’s Arrow”: 12 Pedophiles Nabbed in Northern Florida (February 2017)
TALLAHASSEE, FL — An online sting called “Operation Cupid’s Arrow,” in which police officers posed as minors in internet chat rooms, led to the arrests of 12 men from north Florida and southern Georgia. The suspects reportedly used the chat rooms to attempt to lure what they believed were children into having sex.
The men arrested ranged in age from 21 to 70, and included members from all walks of life, including a college student, a highly regarded legal professional, and a government employee who ran the Florida House of Representatives’ page and messenger program.
In the course of the chats, some of the men sent lewd photographs and/or requested that the children send them nude pictures of themselves.
Mark Peres, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge of the operation, stated of the captures:
“This can be anybody, it’s just those individuals that have the propensity to harm children by sexual encounters and sexual acts. They’re not going to stop. Unfortunately, the internet and these chat rooms only make it easier for them to prey on our children.”
Only one of the dozen suspects had a record for being a child predator. [WCTV]
2. “Operation Cupid Overload”: 3 Popped Looking to Trade Cocaine for Sex (February 2016)MARTIN COUNTY, FL — “Operation Cupid Overload” netted a trio of worked up would-be prostitute patrons who answered an online call for cocaine in exchange for sexual favors.
Each of the suspects arrived at a local motel where an undercover cop posing as a sex worker accepted a $50 cash copayment before other officers burst into the room and slapped cuffs on the targets. Each hopeful customer also did bring the agreed-upon cocaine.
Police charged Miguel Maldonado, 36; Michael Cooper, 45; and Eric Burns, 39; with possession of cocaine, delivery of cocaine, and soliciting prostitution. Bail was set at $80,000. [Treasure Coast]
3. “Operation Cupid”: Hooker Sting Nets 11, Including A Local Cop — On Valentine’s Day (February 2014)WINDSOR LOCKS, CT — Claiming that an increase in prostitution had been accompanied by an overall rise in crime along Connecticut’s Route 75, local authorities mounted a sting operation to net sex worker clients on Valentine’s Day. Logically, then, the cops dubbed their sting “Operation Cupid.”
Posting ads on a popular escort service website, undercover agents set up meetings at a motel, met with would be johns and, upon the exchange of cash for promised sexual services, arrested them.
Among those busted was Springfield Police Officer John Wadlegger, 42. He was immediately relegated to desk duty while Internal Affairs launched its own investigation. [NBC Connecticut]
4. “Operation C.U.P.I.D.”: Drug Sweep Collars 23 in Oklahoma (February 2009)MUSKOGEE, OK — Just before Valentine’s Day 2009, six different Oklahoma law-enforcement agencies banded together for “Operation C.U.P.I.D.” — which stands for Criminals Under Prosecution Involving Drugs — to clean up the mean streets of Muskogee.
The concerted effort brought in 23 suspects out of 44 targets who had outstanding warrants for drug arrests. [Muskogee Phoenix]
Celebrate Valentine’s Day in an Investigation Discovery way with our “Love Triangles Deadlier Than The One Near Bermuda” ID GO playlist!
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Main photo: Cupid [Pixabay]