Suspected leader of Clay, Pasco County child sex trafficking ring arrested in Middleburg

The suspected leader of a child sex trafficking ring that was operating in Clay and Pasco counties is now in jail.

“From the very beginning, a 44-year-old male knows this is a 15-year-old. And he says I don’t care,” Pasco County Sheriff Chriss Nooco said.

Randy Coffelt Jr., 44, of Middleburg is facing 13 felony charges connected to child pornography and human sex trafficking.

Coffelt was taken into custody Saturday when Clay County deputies helped FDLE agents raid his home in Middleburg.

He is now in the Pasco County jail because that’s where investigators say a victim was abused.

They also say they believe there are more victims.

FDLE agents and Pasco County Sheriff’s Office detectives on Thursday were seen coming out of the Middleburg home of Coffelt just hours after Nocco held a news conference to announce the arrest of four men including Coffelt. All four face charges in connection to suspected child pornography and child sex trafficking. Coffelt was identified as the ringleader who met a minor on a website.

“Randy starts manipulating her through these conversations,” Nocco said.

Conversations that according to investigators, led the girl to believe Randy loved her.

“From the very beginning of their conversations, when they first started speaking, the victim says, ‘Hey, I want to let you know I’m 15 years old.’ And he goes, ‘That’s okay. I like them young,’” Nocco said.

According to a complaint affidavit, the online conversations between Coffelt and the teen turned sexual, and eventually, the two started texting each other. The complaint affidavit states that Coffelt created an account on another adult website where he uploaded nude photos of the girl.

“He then started posting on the website for other pedophiles and scum-bags to go looking at. Then his plan was to have them make videos with this girl,” Nocco said.

Investigators say before long, different men started showing up at the girl’s home to have sex with her on video. They also say Coffelt stayed in contact with the girl from his home in Middleburg and coached her on what to do on camera. The video of her performing sex acts on men were sent back to Coffelt who is accused of uploading the videos to his account. According to the complaint affidavit, this went on from December of last year until April 2023. Then, on Saturday, state and local authorities raided Coffelt’s Middleburg home.

One of Coffelt’s neighbors who asked to remain anonymous said he wondered why so many law enforcement officers were going in and out of the house. And now he knows why.

“Kids run around this neighborhood. I can’t believe that something like that would happen. It’s astonishing,” the neighbor said.

Investigators believe there are more victims in this case and would like them to come forward.

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