Massachusetts State Police have executed a statewide crackdown on child pornography suspects, resulting in 32 arrests over the past week, Fox News reported.
The five-day sweep dubbed Operation Corral began on April 2, with several law enforcement agencies on both the local and national level conducting a series of raids on suspects' homes across the state. The operation was announced by several high-ranking police officials and other law enforcements authorities at the state police headquarters in Framingham on Tuesday.
Officials released the list of the suspects taken into custody, with the arrests being made in East Boston, Stockbridge, New Bedford, Harwich and Oak Bluffs. According to the list, the arrested suspects are aged between 17 to 62 years.
So far, 56 search warrants have been executed during the sting, with fourteen investigations still in progress. Forty five new cases for investigation have yielded as a result of the arrests, Col. Marian McGovern, commander of the State Police, said at the conference.
According to the Herald News, 18 of those arrested may be given a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison if found guilty of distributing child pornography. The Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force provided the leads to the agencies which led to the arrests.
McGovern added that the operation was carried out as part of efforts to warn child pornographers of committing atrocities against children, the Taunton Daily Gazette said. We will never stop. We're coming after you day, after day, after day, the State Police commander said at the press conference.
According to the publication, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley also highlighted the importance of executing the operation at the conference: Child pornography is the exploitation of children, and that exploitation has been made even more prevalent by the growth of the Internet and technology. It is why it is so important that all of us in law enforcement continue to improve the ways we use technology to investigate, prosecute, and prevent these crimes.
Child pornography is an escalating criminal offence in the US. Considering the volume of material available on the Internet, it is becoming difficult to track down child pornographers. And with pedophiles now turning to mobile phones to access the Internet, the trade is expected to become increasingly tough to combat.