U.S. agents crack down on Internet child porn

'Operation Emissary' results in arrest of 125 people, including police officers, high school teachers and a federal border patrol agent.

U.S. law enforcement officials on Wednesday said a crackdown on Internet child pornography has resulted in the arrest of 125 people nationwide, including police officers, high school teachers, and a federal border patrol agent.

Those arrested are accused of using a commercial Web site to access videos and images of hard-core pornography involving children as young as infants engaged in sexual activities with adults, according to federal officials.

The suspects allegedly subscribed to the Web site over a period of two to three months late last year and early this year.

"This case should clearly demonstrate to those pedophiles who believe that the Internet provides them with anonymity that they are clearly mistaken," said U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie during a press conference in Newark, N.J.

Many of the 125 suspects were arrested on Wednesday, including 14 in New Jersey, where "Operation Emissary" was initiated.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement joined with the Justice Department to investigate the use of the Internet to access child pornography.

Besides law enforcement officers, those arrested also included a clinical researcher for a pharmaceutical company, military personnel and a Customs and Border Protection officer, according to officials. They said several suspects have been previously convicted of sex offenses against children or were under investigation in other pornography cases.

The charges could bring prison sentences of up to 20 years and large fines.

Federal agents have executed 225 search warrants on personal computers of people who are accused of subscribing to the Web site, according to law enforcement officials.

Story Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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