New joint operation to combat child exploitation - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New joint operation to combat child exploitation

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - Twenty people were arrested after a month-long investigation targeting online child predators, the U.S. Attorney announced Friday.

"Operation Artemis" focused on sexually explicit images of infants and children being abused, U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt said.

The operation was headed by the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, made up of the District Attorney's Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other agencies.

"We are all united in our efforts to protect children," Hewitt said.

Joe Garcia of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the defendants include a registered sex offender, a grocery store clerk, real estate manager and sales consultant.

If convicted, the defendants could face between 37 months to 15 years in prison, depending on the number of images involved, Hewitt said.

According to Hewitt, the crimes took place across multiple jurisdictions, including some child pornography produced overseas.

"It's reprehensible, and we're not going to stand for it," Hewitt said. "To us, it's about protecting kids."

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