Federal authorities and local police arrested 82 people in a massive eight-state child exploitation sting, according to reports.
A Facebook post by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) notes that “Operation Southern Impact III” was held across a number of southern states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to WBNS TV.
It was a “Great display of local, state, and federal partnerships,” the GBI exclaimed.
The mass operation targeted people who were making or distributing child pornography.
“Approximately 500 cyber tips a month from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Some of those were cases that we did search warrants and knock and talks on during this operation,” GBI Special Agent Debbie Garner said.
But the GBI also noted that the sting helped put an end to the molestation of hundreds of children as people who collect and deal in child porn also often perpetrate such abuse themselves and don’t merely view the porn.
“There is actually a statistical correlation between those people who are collecting and viewing child pornography and those that are committing hands-on child molestation offenses,” Garner added.
As many as 171 agencies across the eight-state target area cooperated in the sting.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.