1,700 people arrested on child exploitation charges; two from Savannah-area

Crime & Safety

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – More than a thousand suspected child sex predators are now off the streets.

A Federal Internet Crimes Task Force arrested 1,700 people on child exploitation crimes. Two of the suspects are from the Savannah area.

The federal investigation is called “Operation Broken Heart.” Those hundreds of suspects are from all across the country. They were nabbed during a two-month operation.

29-year-old Steven Ross from Savannah and 38-year-old Benjamin Ray from Anderson County, South Carolina, are among those now in federal custody.

Ross faces several charges including aggravated child molestation.  Ray is facing similar charges including obscene internet contact with a child.

Bobby Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, says the operation was a big success — but more work must still be done.

“We think of child exploitation cases as always the creepy guy in the van going around the playground.  Now we realize it’s much easier for these creeps to use the dark web and those places on the internet that aren’t open for scrutiny,” Christine said.

Christine says during this sting operation, the task force arrested more than 300 offenders who either produced child porn or committed child sex abuse.

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