Published: 2:09 pm, Thu. Jun. 14th, 2018Updated: 2:08 pm
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has announced the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force served 147 search warrants, arrested 19 alleged predators, and rescued two children during a three-month, statewide operation to protect New Mexico children from sexual exploitation and rape.
The arrests included individuals who allegedly engaged in sexual activity with minors, individuals allegedly travelling to engage in sexual activity with children they believed to be under the age of 14, and persons allegedly trafficking child pornography. The initiative, “Operation Broken Heart V,” also reached 11,400 people regarding Internet safety education and outreach events in New Mexico.
“I’m grateful for the work of Office of the Attorney General special agents along with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers who belong to the New Mexico ICAC task force for saving children from horrific abuse and torture,” said Balderas. “We have no higher priority than protecting our children, and thanks to our ICAC task force and successful initiatives like Operation Broken Heart V, our communities around the state are safer for children and families.”
New Mexico’s efforts were part of a coordinated law enforcement operation representing more than 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that included a focus on arrests of alleged predators and increased internet safety education and outreach.
The New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force operation was concentrated on offenders who: (1) possess, manufacture and distribute child pornography; (2) engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; (3) engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of children (commonly referred to as child prostitution), and (4) engage in child sex tourism (traveling abroad for the purpose of sexually abusing foreign children).
All participating ICAC Task Forces, including New Mexico’s, will compile arrest statistics from Operation Broken Heart V and share them with the Department of Justice/Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in Washington, D.C. Balderas oversees New Mexico’s ICAC task force, which is made up of 87 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in New Mexico.