POLICE HAVE ARRESTED 190 people and rescued 18 children – including some detained in Europe – in a major crackdown on child pornography, authorities in the US said yesterday.
Most of the arrests in Operation Orion last month took place in the US, but suspects were also picked up in Argentina, Britain, the Philippines and Spain.
Operation Orion targeted individuals “who possessed, received, transported, distributed, advertised or produced images or videos of child pornography,” an Immigration and Customs Enforcement statement said.
Among those arrested was a 35-year-old man in Louisiana suspected of using the seven-year-old he babysat to make child pornography, and a 35-year-old in Oklahoma who offered money for sex to a 14-year-old victim he met on a social networking site.
In Michigan, a 54-year-old allegedly persuaded an underage boy to join him in illegal sexual conduct that he then photographed, while a 28-year-old was found to have more than 1,200 images and 109 videos of suspected child pornography on computers and media storage devices.
In Los Angeles eight men were arrested, including one who met his alleged 12-year-old victim on Facebook, and who was detained after agents from ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) section pretended to be her online.
Theodore Perez, 29, was arrested on May 1 when he arrived at a shopping mall to meet a 12-year-old girl he met on Facebook.
No details of the arrests conducted overseas were disclosed. ICE said they included some in Argentina, Britain, the Philippines and Spain.