Authorities have arrested 58 people in Maryland over the past two months as part of a nationwide operation targeting child sexual exploitation.
Officials from the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force focused on individuals who possessed, manufactured or distributed child pornography, or engaged in online enticement of children for sexual purposes, according to a Maryland State Police news release. They also investigated child prostitution and human trafficking, the release stated. Most of the Maryland arrests were made in relation to child pornography, said state police spokesperson Brenda Carl.
The Maryland task force, made up of police agencies across the state, was one of 61 included in “Operation Broken Heart,” a national law enforcement initiative targeting child sex predators.
The Maryland task force opened 320 investigations, the release said, and conducted public outreach sessions that reached more than 1,000 people.
In total, the operation’s task forces conducted 2,150 informational sessions about Internet safety across the country during the two-month operation.
Maryland’s task force, overseen by the Maryland State Police Computer Crimes Unit, was funded by Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.