Federal agents have arrested 190 suspects in a May operation targeting child predators, and 18 minors have been rescued across the United States and into four foreign countries.
According to Reuters, suspects were arrested for possessing, distributing or producing photographs or videos of child pornography, and some had sexually assaulted minors or engaged in "illegal sexual enticement."
US Immigration Customs Enforcement director John Morton, who conducted "Operation Orion," said many of the cases started with a child or teenager "chatting with someone he or she met online," reported TV New Zealand.
The 190 arrests were made in the United States, Spain, the Philippines, Argentina and the United Kingdom, according to Reuters. ICE said that agents rescued 18 minors during the month-long operation.
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TVNZ reported that Special Agent Lorraine Concha, who was in charge of the operation in San Diego, said one of the victims was a child being filmed by a hidden camera in her own home. She also said that most child predators "will share their treasures — they consider these treasures — with other predators over the internet. That's the typical case."
"Operation Orion" was named after a hunter in Greek mythology, according to Reuters. A special ICE unit that looks into large-scale production and distribution of child abuse images conducted the investigation. The unit also looks into predators who travel abroad to engage in sex with minors.