The Washington State Patrol’s (WSP) Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF), arrested 20 males and one female during a multi-day operation that targeted individuals who wanted to sexually exploit children.

“It’s vital we take these child predators off the streets and keep our children safe,” says Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste. “Through collaboration with our partners, we are making the internet safer for kids and are also able to protect the most vulnerable community members from abuse.”

Law enforcement officers acting in an undercover capacity, communicated on the internet  through various websites with individuals interested in the sexual exploitation of children. The operation generated hundreds of responses. The would-be perpetrators arrested agreed to travel to meet with undercover detectives posing as young girls and boys to engage in sexual activity with them.

“The significant investigative, surveillance and computer forensics support from our Homeland Security Investigations special agents proves that we leave no stone unturned when it comes to removing these predators from our communities,” said Steve Cagen, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “The staggering number of arrests achieved through interagency cooperation are a testament to our combined passion to prevent future harm to innocent children.”

As a result of the operation, detectives were able to rescue four children who were at risk of being abused.

The success of this operation was a collaborative effort involving the following agencies:

  • Washington State Patrol’s (WSP) Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF)
  • Thurston County Sheriff’s Office
  • Olympia Police Department
  • Tumwater Police Department
  • Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
  • Washington State Department of Corrections
  • Lacey Police Department
  • Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
  • Shelton Police Department
  • United States Postal Inspection Service
  • S. Homeland Security Investigations
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations Child Exploitation Task Force
  • Washington State Office of the Attorney General
  • Thurston County Narcotic Task Force
  • United States Attorneys Office.
  • United States Army – Criminal Investigation Division