Undercover operation and high-speed pursuit lead to sex offender's arrest

August 10, 2020

Undercover operation and high-speed pursuit lead to sex offender’s arrest

Media Contact: Makayla Chancey, PIO

The safety and security of our children remains one of the top priorities of the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office, which is why we’re committed to monitoring the sexual offenders and predators living in our community. Recently, a detective with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office contacted our agency in regards to a local sexual offender, Michael Daughtry, having an active warrant for unlawful use of a two-way communication device, transmission of harmful materials to a minor, and solicitation of a minor for a sexual act.

Stemming from a Hillsborough County investigation, which began on July 27, 2020, a detective for the agency was working undercover on a social media application to locate and identify individuals who use it for the exploitation of children. Daughtry did converse on the app with the detective, who was pretending to be a 14-year-old girl, and tried to solicit sexual activity from the “minor” along with sending explicit text messages. Further investigation revealed Daughtry had not registered this online account with the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office or the cell phone number he used to send the texts.

When offenders or predators register with the sheriff’s office, per their sexual offender requirements, they sign and receive a copy of their registration and a notice of sexual offender obligations. It’s also made clear they must contact the sheriff’s office if anything changes within 48 hours. Each offender is provided with contact information for the sheriff’s office and is able to call and leave a voicemail or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to notify law enforcement of any changes.

On August 5, 2020, deputies attempted to serve the Hillsborough warrant on Daughtry in the area of Boyd Cowart Road and Jack Jones Road in Wauchula, when he took off in his vehicle, trying to evade arrest. Daughtry fled from law enforcement and a pursuit began, with him traveling over 120 mph and almost striking a patrol vehicle, before coming to a sudden stop on Fish Branch Road in Zolfo Springs. A records check confirmed his license was suspended and a clear, glass pipe and plastic baggie were located in the car, both containing traces of methamphetamine.

Michael Daughtry was arrested and charged with fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement with a disregard for safety, driving with a suspended license, possession of methamphetamine and narcotic equipment, failure to register an online account, and failure to register a telephone number.

If you know of any information regarding an offender in violation of his or her conditions, call the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office at (863) 773-0304 or submit a tip through the HCSO mobile app. Citizens can download this free app to view sexual offenders and predators living in the county. Individuals can also search offenders by visiting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sexual Offenders and Predators Search Page or sign up to receive offender alerts from the Florida Offender Alert System.