According to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, a sting called “Operation Hydra” resulted in a massive rescue of trafficked kids and the arrest of their traffickers, with 19 sexually exploited children rescued and 28 sickos arrested with crimes related to the sexual exploitation of kids.
The results of and background to the operation were announced in a press release released on July 24 by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. Beginning, the DA’s office gave the numbers, noting that 19 kids were rescued from the traffickers, who were exploiting them to produce and distribute horrific material online, and that 28 of the sick individuals involved in that stomach-churning operation were arrested.
That beginning of the press release said, “The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced the results of a month’s long operation targeting the distribution of child sexual abuse material on the internet. During “Operation Hydra,” detectives rescued 19 children who had been sexually abused or exploited. Authorities identified, charged, and arrested 28 individuals with crimes related to the sexual exploitation of children. These defendants were from 17 states and made child sexual abuse material available in Montgomery County.”
Continuing, the press release noted the investigation took twelve long months and involved investigating social media accounts and chat groups involved in posting and distributing the horrific material, including monitoring the groups to control access to the groups.
That portion of the press release said, “Over the last 12 months, detectives with the Montgomery County division of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force monitored chat groups on a popular social media application. The defendants were identified as participants in various group chats dedicated to distributing child sexual abuse material. Most of the defendants posted illicit images to the groups. Some defendants were administrators of the groups and controlled who could access the groups.”
The press release then noted that the detectives were, despite the geographic hurdles to their investigation and the massive scope of the problem, able to identify the individuals involved and arrest them, thus sending a stark message to those who would attempt to abuse or exploit children.
The press release said, “These cases underscore the fact that such crimes often cross jurisdictional boundaries, spanning counties, states, and even countries. Utilizing advanced investigative techniques, the team of detectives successfully identified and located the individuals involved, even though they were from other jurisdictions. Detectives worked with authorities in those jurisdictions to apprehend the defendants, demonstrating a commitment to collaboration and cooperation with other jurisdictions to ensure the safety of our community and particularly children. This operation is a stark reminder of the realities of child sexual exploitation and the proliferation of child sexual abuse material on the internet, and the need for proactive measures to address these crimes against our children.”
Adding some context to the massive scope of the operation was the end of the press release, which listed the different agencies and departments involved, saying: “Operation: Hydra was spearheaded by the Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office along with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. The operation was supported by Montgomery County Constables’ Offices, Precinct 2, Precinct 3, Precinct 4 and Precinct 5, the Conroe Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshalls Service, and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.”
Assistant District Attorney Chris Seufert, quoted in the press release, said, “Heroes aren’t only in movies. Right here in Montgomery County, real-life heroes are tirelessly fighting for our children’s safety. To those who harm the innocent, beware-we will do whatever it takes to find those who harm the innocent.”
Also quoted was District Attorney Brett Ligon, who said, “The Internet allows child predators access and abuse children worldwide. My message to child abusers is clear: I don’t care where you are. If you make these images available in my county or put children at risk, we will find you, and you will face justice.”
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