MOULTRIE, Ga. (WTXL) — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Monday several arrests in relation to crimes against children.
According to a news release provided by the GBI, 12 people were arrested and each were charged with Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007.
The GBI noted the operation occurred during a three-day period beginning on Thursday, Feb. 10.
The investigation was focused on Moultrie and took several months of planning and teamwork with 12 other law enforcement agencies. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia was involved with the investigation.
According to the report, those arrested, whose ages ranged from their early 20s to mid-60s, traveled from different areas of south Georgia to a location with the intent to engage in sex acts with a minor.
Mobile devices were obtained as evidence during the operation.
The GBI notes that investigators had multiple conversations via social media and or internet platforms with individuals. The subjects are accused of directed conversations towards sex with persons they believed to be minors.
“The Georgia ICAC Task Force received 14,922 child exploitation cybertips during 2021. Most of these tips were a reaction to crimes which already occurred and children that have already been victimized," GBI special agent in charge Brian Johnston said in a statement.
“This operation, and others like Operation Heartbreak, is an opportunity for multiple law enforcement agencies to collectively identify perpetrators who seek to sexually exploit children before a child is placed in harm’s way. The GBI is extremely grateful for the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office and the many agencies that represent their communities by being part of the Georgia ICAC Task Force.”