Massive Child-Porn Bust Surfaces 123 Abused Kids

Operation Sunflower leads to 245 arrests

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 4, 2013 10:07 AM CST

(Newser) – A massive child-porn bust has led to 245 arrests and the identification of 123 exploited children, some as young as two, reports the Contra Costa Times. The crackdown, dubbed Operation Sunflower, began Nov. 1 and ran for five weeks, and extended to 46 states and six countries, officials revealed yesterday. Of the 123 children, 44 were living with their alleged abusers. Five of the children were three or younger, and 41 were between the ages of four and 12. California led the way with 37 arrests, and all but 23 of those arrested were in the United States, reports CNN.

"Whenever our investigations reveal the production and distribution of new child pornography online, we will do everything we can to rescue the victim and prosecute the abuser, even if takes us years or (going) around the world to do it," said ICE's director. Investigators say the are continuing to make arrests and attempting to identify further victims. The operation's name is a nod to the impressive 2011 rescue of an 11-year-old in Kansas; click for the fascinating story of how ICE agents tracked her down.

Deputy Assistant Director Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Public Affairs Cathy Milhoan displays posters of suspects during a news conference at ICE headquarters in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3,  2013, where ICE Director John Morton announced the results of a major operation that identified and rescued sexually exploited children...
Deputy Assistant Director Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Public Affairs Cathy Milhoan displays posters of suspects during a news conference at ICE headquarters in Washington, Thursday,...   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) CEO John Ryan, center, speaks during a news conference at ICE headquarters in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3,  2013, to announce that more that 200 adults have been arrested in an international investigation of child pornography. From left are, U.S. Immigration and...
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) CEO John Ryan, center, speaks during a news conference at ICE headquarters in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, to announce that more that 200...   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, right, speaks during a news conference at ICE headquarters in Washington, yesterday, to announce that more than 200 adults have been arrested in a five-week, international investigation of child pornography.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, right, speaks during a news conference at ICE headquarters in Washington, yesterday, to announce that more than 200 adults have been...   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
2%
1%
61%
23%
12%
1%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment