Sheriff’s Office helps in operation that targets child porn distributors
April 11, 2013 12:00 AM | 2262 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From staff reports

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office was one of 47 agencies participating in a statewide operation Wednesday through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation targeting child pornography distributors.

Cherokee Sheriff’s Office acting spokesman Lt. Jamie Gianfala said Wednesday afternoon that his agency had executed two search warrants, but made no arrests.

GBI’s “Operation Guarding Innocence” targeted 98 suspects allegedly involved in the Internet child porn trade. GBI spokesman John Bankhead said the three-month operation is the largest of its kind in Georgia.

The sweep was a result of a three-month investigation coordinated by the GBI and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Bankhead said search warrants were executed Wednesday in 37 counties throughout the state by 50 teams representing federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.

Bankhead said the ICAC Task Force Program was developed in response to the increased use of the Internet by minors, the proliferation of child porn and the heightened online activity by predators seeking out contact with underage victims.

“The mission of the ICAC Task Force Program, created by the U.S. Department of Justice and housed within the GBI, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases,” Bankhead said in a Wednesday news release. “This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education.”

The operation coincides with National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, recognized each April to promote and support causes aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect.

In 2012, the task force made a total of 163 arrests. Statewide, the task force has made 974 arrests since it was established in 2002.
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