Photo Source: KALB
They’re calling it “Operation Broken Heart,” and the Attorney General says it should serve as a reminder about how dangerous the internet can be.
Jeff Landry said there were 63 child predators arrested in Louisiana over the course of only two months as part of Operation Broken Heart, making that 165 total this fiscal year.
“These child predators possessed, produced and distributed images or videos of sexual abuse to children under the age of 13. Some as young as 3,” said Landry.
These include a law enforcement officer and KALB employee, right here in Central Louisiana, as well as two others.
Landry also emphasized that it was a team effort, including local law enforcement, Louisiana State Police, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security
“When you see these many law enforcement agencies working together, it really tells you there is a consistent problem,” Landry said.
The conference also gave agencies the chance to answer the question many people are asking: How does law enforcement track down these predators?
“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a clearinghouse for cyber tips,” said Corey Bourgeois, commander of the Louisiana Internet Crimes Against Children task force. “In 2018, they received 18 million tips…1,944 of those tips came from Louisiana…Of the 1,944 cyber tips, 67 percent of those are from Facebook.”
A new tactic state police are using is Maggie, the first dog in the state to sniff out hidden electronic devices
“She’s proven to be very successful,” said Lt. Chad Gremillion with LSP. “The very first search warrant she went on, she found a device that was hidden.”
While the goal of the operation is to catch predators, the Attorney General’s office wants to prevent the issue altogether, encouraging parents to be mindful of what their children have access to.
Rapides Parish Sheriff William Earl Hilton spoke on the situation.
“These people who are posted right here on this poster board, they don’t change,” said Hilton. “Once you’re a sexual predator, then you’re going to always be.”
We will be following these cases as they move through the court.
RELATED: Operation Broken Heart produces 63 arrests for child exploitation
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