A recent national U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) crackdown on child pornography netted eight suspected predators in the Northwest.
Operation Orion, which lasted May 1 through 31, resulted in the arrests of 190 suspects and the rescue of 18 victims of child pornography worldwide.
Most of the suspects were from the U.S., but arrests in Argentina, the Philippines, Spain and United Kingdom were also executed, ICE said in a statement Friday.
Of the 190 arrests, 8 were apprehended in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
One of the men arrested in Washington worked as a substitute school bus driver for the Issaquah School District.
ICE Director John Morton said many of the cases started as online conversations and prevention needs to start with educating children.
“With the advent of summer vacation, children may have more time and access to the Internet, making this a good time to talk to them about online dangers. Many of the child exploitation cases under Operation Orion began with a child or teen chatting with someone he or she met online,” Morton said.
“Let this operation be a warning to anyone who would think they can use the Internet to exploit children: we are out there looking for you, we will find you, and you will be prosecuted.”