Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus Brown speaks at ICE headquarters in DC. Next to him on the right is ICE Director John Morton.
A nearly month-long crackdown by federal authorities on online child sex predators has lead to the arrests of more than 250 people.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted the operation, which started at the end of May and lasted until the end of June. ICE Director John Morton says investigating child sex crimes has become commonplace for his agency.
"In our short ten year history as an agency, we have made more than 10,000 arrests for child sex offenses of various kinds. And sadly the pace of arrests increases each year," Morton says.
In addition to the 255 arrests from this latest crackdown, ICE identified more than 60 victims, four of which were under the age of three. Morton believes there are many more victims they have yet to find. He says the latest trend is something called "sextortion," where predators solicit lewd photos from teens and younger online.
"In many instances the abusers take advantage of a sexual image the child divulges through a chat room, or in a text, to force the child to continue to produce darker and more pornographic images on threat of broader disclosures of the images over the internet," Morton says.
Five people in Maryland were arrested during this operation, and ICE identified six victims in the state. Only Texas had more victims. Only one arrest was made in Virginia and D.C., and no victims were found.