Carlos Canela, 44, of Cape Coral, was found guilty as charged with one count of Traveling to
Meet a Minor for Sexual Activity following a two-day trial in Lee County. He faces up to 15
years in prison.
The defendant was arrested as part of Operation Picket Fence. It was an organized law
enforcement operation to find people seeking to solicit children for sex online led by the Lee
County Sheriff’s Office. The FBI, Homeland Security, Pembroke Pines Police Department and
the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force participated in the operation. The
State Attorney’s Office also assisted.
In May 2018, the defendant made contact with what he thought was a boy on a dating app.
During the texting conversation the “boy” let Canela know he was underage. Canela sent photos
of himself to who he thought was a child but it really was an undercover detective with the
Pembroke Pines Special Victims Unit.
Canela was given an address to meet the child and was arrested when he arrived.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 23rd. Assistant State Attorneys John Dommerich Jr. and
Erin Hughes prosecuted the case.
State Attorney’s Office