Attorney General Lynn Fitch on Friday announced the completion of a weeklong cybercrime operation in North Mississippi.
Known as Operation Catfish, the Attorney General’s Office partnered with Webster County Sheriff’s Office, Starkville Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi State University Police Department, Columbus Police Department, Tupelo Police Department, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to locate individuals online attempting to lure children to meet for sex or ask them to produce child pornography.
“Predators use the anonymity of the Internet to use and abuse children,”
said Lynn Fitch.
“My Cyber Crime Division and our law enforcement affiliates in the Mississippi Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force have the training, resources, and commitment to find them before they prey on our children. Each one of these operations helps to make the Internet a safer place for all of us.”
The joint effort has so far led to the arrest of three individuals on charges
related to the sexual exploitation of minors, with investigations still ongoing
that may result in additional arrests. Law enforcement served nine search warrants in support of the 0peration.
WCBI News reported that a Starkville man was charged with possession of child sexual abuse materials and that an Oakland, Calif., man was charged with enticement of a minor to meet for sexual purposes. Starkville police said both men were both arrested in Starkville as part of Operation Catfish.
The name of the third person arrested in the sting and their charges were not released or the location where they were arrested. The Webster County Jail docket shows no arrests last week in connection with the operation.
The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office manages and operates the
Mississippi ICAC Task Force, which was created by the U.S. Department of
Justice and works in cooperation with other ICAC Task Forces across the
country. So far, in this year, the Mississippi ICAC Task Force has received 1,647
CyberTips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which administers the national CyberTipline.
If you have information about a child being sexually exploited online, please
report it to 1-800-843-5678. The hotline is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a