(CNSNews.com) -- The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has reported that Operation Broken Heart, a government campaign targeting child predators, in conjunction with a similar campaign run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has resulted in the arrest of more than 2,300 suspected online child-sex offenders.
Operation Broken Heart was set up by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, which partnered with ICE and its Operation Predator. The criminal sweep occurred during March, April, and May.
In addition to the 2,300-plus arrests, Operation Broken Heart led to the identification of 195 offenders guilty of child pornography or child sex abuse, and the identification of 383 child victims of child pornography or sexual abuse, reported ICE in a statement.
The people targeted include those who “produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography,” “engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes,” “engage in the sex trafficking of children,” and those who “travel across state lines or to foreign countries and sexually abuse children,” said ICE.
“No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a DOJ press release. “And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production.”
“We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes,” said Sessions. “ It is shocking and very sad that in this one operation, we have arrested more than 2,300 alleged child predators and investigated some 25,200 sexual abuse complaints. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children."
The entire operation involved 61 ICAC task forces in all 50 states, and more than 4,500 federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, said the DOJ. Since 1998, “ICAC Task Forces have reviewed more than 775,000 complaints of child exploitation, which resulted in the arrest of more than 83,000 individuals,” said the Justice Department.
According to ICE, some of the case examples included:
“Christopher Wood at his Mountlake Terrace, Washington, residence for possessing and distributing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct…. Images depicting child pornography were subsequently located on Wood’s digital media, and law enforcement discovered that Wood shared a bedroom with a potential female minor victim.
“HSI [Homeland Security Investigations] Seattle arrested Jeremy James Cherry, a registered sex offender, via federal complaint for possessing child pornography…. Videos depicting child pornography were subsequently located on Cherry’s digital media.
“HSI Tacoma, with assistance from HSI Seattle, arrested Donald Delateur at his residence in Olympia, Washington, on federal receipt of child pornography charges. Delateur is a previously convicted registered sex offender. During the execution of the search warrant at Delateur’s residence, agents discovered child pornography on his computer.
“HSI Blaine special agents executed a state search warrant at the Anacortes, Washington, residence of Josh Robinson, and subsequently arrested Robinson for receipt of child pornography. This investigation was initiated by the Seattle Police Department who discovered Robinson was sharing child pornography files via the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing network….
“HSI Portland and task force officers arrested James Rolla at his Vancouver, Washington, residence on state possession of child pornography charges. A state search warrant was executed at Rolla’s residence, and images of child pornography were found on devices belonging to him.”