Child Pornography Ring Busted

JUNE 14, 2005 -- The State Bureau of Investigation has carried out more than 50 search warrants in the past week to fight the spread of child pornography. Several of those warrants are in the Wilmington area.

The North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force led by the SBI has served a total of 58 search warrants since June 6 on suspects in Wilmington, Greenville, Rocky Mount, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Cary, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Boone, Asheville and other cities across North Carolina. The operation brought together 45 law enforcement agencies across the state and is expected to yield charges that will be prosecuted by local district attorneys and federal prosecutors. Already ten of the searches have resulted in arrests of suspects with several other cases pending forensic review of computer evidence seized by the SBI during the searches.

The operation began in October 2004 with SBI investigations that culminated in a statewide sweep over the past week to fight the growing use of file sharing programs to trade and distribute child pornography. Investigators with the SBI Computer Crimes Unit worked with investigators from across the country to locate internet addresses in North Carolina that were being used to share child pornography videos and images.

The names of the suspects will not be released until later this month.