Dec. 2 (UPI) — Law enforcement officers arrested 79 people in a statewide sting targeting child predators and child pornography, New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced Friday.
The sting — called Operation Safety Net — nabbed 10 people accused of “hands-on” offenses from sexually assaulting minors to attempting to have minors transported across state lines for sex. Dozens of others are accused of amassing or sharing thousands of images of child pornography.
Those arrested ranged in age from 14 to 75, and include a police officer in Trenton, N.J., a piano teacher, a swimming coach and a camp counselor.
“The men we arrested lurked in the shadows of the Internet and social media, looking for opportunities to sexually assault young children or to view such unspeakable assaults by sharing child pornography,” Porrino said. “We set up a wide safety net in this operation to snare these alleged predators and to protect children, which remains our highest priority.”
A news release from the attorney general’s office said authorities used a new mobile forensics lab and an electronics-sniffing dog to make the arrests.
Two of the men arrested were from outside of New Jersey. George Castillo, 36, of Inglewood, Calif., faces federal charges of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and production of child pornography, and New Jersey charges of first-degree conspiracy to commit child trafficking.
Joseph Donohew, 26, of Brownsburg, Ind., faces an Indiana charge of attempted child molestation.
Eight other men were arrested for alleged “hands-on” offenses in New Jersey, including William Esker, 22, Donald Beckwith, 34, Michael DeBlock, 22, Brandon Morris, 24, Craig Kirschner, 39, Isaac Toney, 40, Robert Elmi, 63, and an unnamed 17-year-old Bergen County student.