UPDATED 10:22 AM PT — Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Authorities in Snohomish County, Washington arrested half a dozen men suspected of online sex crimes. On Tuesday, the Washington State Patrol announced seven men are in custody, following an investigation on attempted child rape, sexual exploitation of a minor and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
The multi-day sting was reportedly part of ‘Operation Net Nanny,’ which is a joint effort with local law enforcement, Homeland Security, the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Authorities reportedly used social media to lure potential predators and target people involved in child abuse and exploitation through the internet.
Snohomish County Net Nanny Operation leads to 7 arrests pic.twitter.com/ZaalyQ2vD0
— Trooper H. Axtman (@wspd7pio) January 29, 2020
“I’ve seen a lot of dark things, I’ve seen a lot of horrible things, but I was still shocked at what I saw over the course of this last week things this last week,” said Trooper Rocky Oliphant of the Washington State Patrol.
Experts have warned the internet can be a dangerous place for children as many online predators use anonymity to their benefit.
Washington state’s latest sting is the 18th operation led by the Missing and Exploited Children Task Force. In the last five years, the operation has led to nearly 300 arrests and has rescued over 30 children across the state.