The operation was a week-long and known as Operation Catfish.
Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office has completed a week-long cyber security operation in North Mississippi in conjunction with multiple other law enforcement agencies to detect individuals sexually exploiting minors.
The AG’s Office partnered with Starkville Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Webster 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 Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “My Cyber Crime Division and our law enforcement affiliates in the Mississippi Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) 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 operation has led to the arrest of three people and nine search warrants. Those arrested faced charges related to sexual exploitation of minors. The investigations are ongoing and could result in more arrests.
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 (NCMEC), 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, 7 days a week. You can also make a report online here.