Thirteen children have been rescued from an eight-state pedophile ring that led to the arrest of 76 abusers creating and distributing “extremely violent” child pornography involving infants and toddlers, according to North Carolina authorities.
Of the 76 arrested, eight men were in North Carolina and ranged in age from 32 to 73, according to N.C. State Bureau of Investigation. Eight of the 13 children rescued in the multi-state sting were in North Carolina.
NC Patch reports: During the pedophile investigation 1,255 digital devices were seized, 235 of which were mobile phones. The arrests stemmed from cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and online undercover investigations.
In North Carolina, agents executed 27 search warrants, 56 “knock and talks,” and seized 190 digital devices and 178 DVDs and CDs.
NC SBI said examples of cases include:
- Agents tracked down a 21-year-old cyber stalker in Rowan County who is accused of sextortion after demanding nude photographs of a 17-year-old girl in Canada.
- In Monroe, N.C., police officers executed a search warrant prompted by a tip and found a 7-year-old girl in an abusive situation.
- An arrest of an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador living in the Durham area used a fictitious Facebook account to entice a 14-year-old girl from Virginia to produce sexually explicit videos of herself.
- Arrest of Richard Wayne Bell, 73, of Moyock, N.C., who agents charged with child pornography. Bell worked as a church daycare program administrator and served as a church deacon.
- A 36-year-old man Macon County man was accused of hands-on sexual offenses against up to five children in crimes that allegedly occurred in North Carolina as well as other states.
- In Cherokee County, Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a 37-year-old registered sex offender who had failed to report an address change and was found living less than 300 feet from a high school. Authorities said they had evidence that he was selling drugs and using minor girls to traffic drugs.
- Detectives in Guilford County, North Carolina found child pornography on seized digital devices belonging to a registered sex offender working as a magician in Guilford County.
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces Task Force is comprised of more than 230 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutor’s offices. The operation was a coordinated effort between 45 local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies in North Carolina.