Arrest in sexual exploitation case after defendant surrenders

For the second time in the past two-days, the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office reported to Historic City News that a Special Victims Unit detective has made an arrest in an undercover operation targeting individuals that use the Internet to sexually exploit children.

Wednesday, a 25-year-old St. Johns County man responded to a undercover detective that he believed to be a 15-year-old child. He began a conversation online that became sexual in nature.

The defendant, Cody Allen Mercer, who lives at 3551 A Pacetti Road in St Augustine, reportedly traveled to an undisclosed location in hopes of meeting the juvenile.

When detectives at the rendezvous location attempted to conduct a traffic stop of his car, Mercer attempted to flee. Mercer eluded capture Wednesday night due to rainy conditions, but he turned himself in early Thursday afternoon.

Mercer remains in custody in the St Johns County Detention Facility. He is charged with use of computer to seduce, solicit, or lure a child; attempted lewd and lascivious behavior; travel to meet a child after using a computer to lure a child; unlawful use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony; transmitting information harmful to minors; and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.

Mercer was booked into the County Jail without bond pending a first appearance hearing Friday morning.

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