Operation Western Shield results in 37 WNC arrests

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

During the week of Oct. 4-8, the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force participated in Operation Western Shield. The operation involved a series of search warrants and knock and talks in an effort to identify individuals who exploit children, in particular, those that produce, distribute and download child pornography.

During this portion of Operation Western Shield, 10 search warrants resulted in 37 arrests in the counties of Polk, Buncombe, Cherokee, Haywood, Henderson and Macon. The search warrants in Polk County were conducted by N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents and detectives with the Polk County Sheriffs Office.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provided several cyber tips which were investigated during the week of Operation Western Shield by members of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

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Operation Western Shield is an ongoing cooperative effort by law enforcement agencies in Western North Carolina who are affiliated with the ICAC Task Force. The goal of Operation Western Shield is to identify, apprehend and bring to prosecution individuals who exploit children. Additionally, one goal is to ensure registered sex offenders are in compliance and take those who are not in compliance into custody.

Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill says, The biggest hope and potential is that with todays modern technology we can work closely with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children to pinpoint the origin of such videos and computer activity to help locate exploited children.