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Mississippi cybercrime operation leads to arrests for sexual exploitation of minors

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Two individuals have been arrested and are facing charges related to the sexual exploitation of minors, according to a release from the attorney general’s office.

As part of Operation Toil and Trouble, law enforcement recently served four search warrants after a week-long, multi-juridicitional cybercrime operation. Additional arrests could be announced in the coming days.

The identities of those arrested so far and the others facing possible legal consequences have not yet been released.

“Children’s online presence has opened a whole new door for predators to meet and exploit children, and our cybercrime division is proactively working to find and stop predators before they have a chance to do more harm,” Attorney General Lynn Fitch said. “I am grateful for our partners in law enforcement who work closely with my team and generously lend their officers, tools, and expertise to protect our children online – not just on this operation, but throughout the year.”

The attorney general’s cybercrime division partnered with the Oxford Police Department, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Department of Revenue’s Alcoholic Beverage Control, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Mississippi to target and locate individuals attempting to lure children they met online for sex or child pornography.

“In addition to serving justice, it is my hope that this operation will serve as an important reminder to families that your children’s personal safety can become promised under your own roof,” Fitch added. “Be aware of the risks facing your children online and take the necessary precautions to protect your children.”

Materials to help parents and children safely navigate the Internet have been generated by the attorney general’s office and members of the team often speak to school and community groups on this topic. The office manages and operates the Mississippi Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which was created by the U.S. Department of Justice and works in cooperation with similar groups across the nation.

From January 1, 2023, to October 23, 2023, the Mississippi ICAC Task Force received 4,032 cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which administers the national Cyber Tipline.

Anyone with information about a child being sexually exploited online is asked to call 1-800-843-5678 or file a report online.

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