18 arrested in California child porn roundup

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webmaster | 01/04/13
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FRESNO (AP) — Eighteen people in central California have been arrested in an international child pornography investigation, federal and state officials said Thursday.

The Fresno area saw the highest number of arrests in any region nationwide, with 14 people arrested here, Mike Prado with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations said at a news conference.

Three local children, including a disabled 7-year-old girl, also were rescued as a result of the operation, Prado said.

Eleven of the 18 defendants face federal felony charges. Another defendant, currently in state custody, has been charged in a federal criminal complaint. Seven others are facing state charges.

Charges include possession, distribution and production of child pornography.

In total, the investigation led to the arrest of 245 people throughout the U.S and the rescue of 44 victims who were living with their accused abusers, ICE Homeland Security Investigations officials said. The victims ranged in age from several monthsto 17 years old.

In addition, agents identified 79 other victims who were abused as children and are now adults.

Investigators said the Internet has made it easier than ever to engage in child pornography — and the harm to victims is permanent.

 

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