Members of a West Virginia State Police task force aided the FBI’s largest nationwide investigation into child sex trafficking.
Officers from the West Virginia Crimes Against Children unit contributed to this investigation, called “Operation Cross Country IX.”
The FBI said 25 suspects were arrested in Wheeling and cities in southwestern Pennsylvania.
The Crimes Against Children unit is stationed in Morgantown and dispatches troopers across the state.
The unit’s leader, Lt. Danny Swiger, said the battle against child sex trafficking in West Virginia is only beginning.
“It’s an ongoing operation. Like I said, we’ve looked at it closely with human trafficking, and feel that our best way to intervene is to identify kids that are sexually abused, charge the perpetrators and dealing with runaways before they become trafficked,” said Swiger.
The FBI did not release the names of the suspects.
Nationally, 149 victims or potential victims were rescued. The youngest was 12 years old.