Investigators of seven local, state and federal law agencies have made 29 arrests in a series of cases called “Operation Safe Summer” targeting Internet sexual predators.
Agency representatives announced the conclusion of the operation at an early September news conference at the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, which originated the idea for Oeration Safe Summer.
Participating in the operation were the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office (Ken J. Mascara, Sheriff), Martin County Sheriff's Office (Robert L. Crowder, Sheriff), Port St. Lucie Police Department (John M. Skinner, Chief of Police), Florida Department of Law Enforcement (Richard Piccininni, Supervisor, Fort Pierce Office), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Rachel Cannon, Resident Agent in Charge, ICE – Office of Investigations), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Michael Degnan, Resident Agent, Fort Pierce Office) and the United States Attorney’s Office (Robert H. Waters, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Fort Pierce Office.)
A number of the cases involved cooperation among participating agencies, as well as assistance from a task force of law officers in South Florida based in Fort Lauderdale known as LEACH (Law Enforcement Against Child Harm.)
The cases resulted in the seizure of more than 3,000 pornographic images or pornographic video clips.
In addition, several more cases are in advanced stages of investigation.
At a Sept. 16 seminar at St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office headquarters, detectives of the Port St. Lucie Police Department, Martin County Sheriff's Office and St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office advised parents how to protect their children from Internet sexual predators.