Criminal Operation Pulls in Over 250 Sex Crime Suspects
In the criminal field, sex crimes are considered some of the most egregious offenses. As a result, investigators will stop at nothing to hunt down potential sex crime suspects. Local authorities and federal agents recently arrested over 250 individuals for purported participation in Internet sex crimes that involved children. Four of these individuals were arrested in Washington State, according to MYNorthwest.com.
According to sources, "Operation iGuardian" was a five-week investigation, which included the seizure of sexually explicit material that had been stored on suspects' electronic devices. During the operation, federal agents claim that they encountered various child predators chatting on the Internet with minors about sexual topics. The suspects purportedly sent obscene images to the children and encouraged them to produce sexual videos and photos. Some children were urged to meet the alleged perpetrators in person and engage in sexual activities, authorities claim.
MYNorthwest.com adds that this latest sting identified 61 alleged child victims, including three in Washington. The director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for Seattle suggests that approximately 30 involved children were physically abused. Most were violated by someone close to home, including a neighbor, relative or an acquaintance. Moreover, the director notes that at least one-third of the victims were under the age of 10.
Those arrested in the operation may face federal charges, including possession and distribution of child pornography, child pornography production, online sexual enticement of a minor, traveling with the intent to have sex with a minor, rape or molestation.
According to the Washington Times, approximately 1,674 child predators have been arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on criminal charges related to the Internet-based sexual exploitation of children in 2013 (fiscal year). Since 2003, the agency has commenced almost 30,000 cases and has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for these types of crimes.
Authorities note that predators are increasingly using online mediums to lure and coerce victims into producing sexually explicit material. For this reason, investigators are narrowing in on suspicious online activity.
Criminal prosecution against Internet sex crimes is growing at an exponential rate in this country. Local and federal authorities are constantly looking for people to arrest. There is a lot government funding available for this type of enforcement. Moreover, because federal agencies have become involved in the fight against sex crimes involving children, suspects face federal charges.
If you are confronting allegations for Internet sex crimes involving children, take the time to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can help explain your available rights and obligations involved in your case.