Cybercrime Sting

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From the young, to the old, the tech-savvy, and the newbies, they're all part of the massive harvest of 'Operation Orange Tree'.

"We will not tolerate this type of activity," says Governor Crist.

Federal, state and local authorities spent three months tracking down men they claim were operating an online file-sharing network. Flying back and forth, twelve thousand images of child porn. The Polk County Sheriff's Office pulled off more than half of all the arrests.

"My sheriff gets after people. He's going to protect our most precious commodity, which is the children of this state, and we're going to do whatever we can to put them in jail every time we get a chance," says Chief Richard Sloan of the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Nearly eighty busts up and down the state sounds big, but it's really only a sampling of all the activity going on right now. Thanks to new technology, for the first time, investigators can pinpoint where downloads are happening - in real time.

John Walsh of the TV show 'America's Most Wanted' calls the innovation a first.

"The bad guys share information, many of them, peer-to-peer. They know the technology cold. As a matter of fact, twelve of these guys were sharing a video to teach perverts how to have sex with children - especially young children," says Walsh.

Authorities say the key to bringing the bad guys to justice comes down to keeping up with their technology. In many ways, it's still an unconquered world. But, Governor Charlie Crist is optimistic that'll change.

"There's a lot out there, obviously, but there's a lot less today because of what's happened in Florida," says Crist.

And, even though operation orange tree is over, the task of picking predators off the branches of cyberspace, continues.

Investigators say five children were rescued as a result of the operation. They were either subjects of child pornography or had been sexually victimized.



 

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