Attorney General Jim Hood has announced the results of a three-month long operation, which concluded with 32 arrests.
The Mississippi Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made 32 arrests from March through May as part of a national operation identifying child sex offenders.
Dubbed “Operation Broken Heart”, the effort led by the United States Department of Justice and was conducted by all 61 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces in each state. It targeted suspects who produced, distributed, received, and possessed child pornography, engaged in online enticement for sexual purposes, engaged in sex trafficking of children, and traveled across state lines or to other countries and sexually abused children.
In Mississippi, the ICAC task force opened 124 investigations, made 32 arrests, executed 67 search warrants, conducted 525 forensic exams of 14.8 TBs of data, trained 260 law enforcement officers, and spoke to 2,171 individuals on internet safety. Hood says that this operation has made Mississippi a safer place.
“The best thing about this operation is that 383 children were identified who had become a victim of these sick individuals. Mississippi is a safer place for our children thanks to the hard work of those who serve on our ICAC task force,” said General Hood. “The partnerships we have with nearly 70 affiliate agencies here in the state on a federal, state, and local level are critical to our ability to put perverts behind bars and far away from harming any more of our most precious gifts. Our office will not stop going after these sick people until they are all brought for their day in court.”
Nationally, Operation Broken Heart arrested more than 2,300 suspects and identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed sexual child abuse.
“No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “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. 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.”
During the course of the national operation, the task forces investigated more than 25,200 complaints of technology-facilitated crimes against children and delivered more than 3,700 presentations on Internet safety to over 390,000 youth and adults.
Earlier today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the arrests of 270 individuals in South Mississippi as a result of “Operation Triple Beam”.