TRENTON, N.J. (WTXF) - Authorities in New Jersey have announced the arrests of several dozen alleged child predators and child pornography offenders.
The announcement follows the conclusion of Operation Safety Net, a month's long investigation targeting alleged sex offenders online and on social media with undercover operations.
"The 79 men that we arrested lurked in the shadows of the internet and on social media," NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino said at a Friday press conference.
Heading the list of suspects was George Castillo, of California, who police say solicited undercover investigators to fly a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old to California.
"Castillo was arrested when he drove to Los Angeles International Airport with a stuffed animal and various sex toys allegedly to pick up the young children," Porrino said.
Locally, investigators say they charged Trenton Police Officer Paul Marinelli with possession of child porn. 34-year-old Air Force Captain Donald Beckwith was charged with solicitation of a minor, according to authorities. 40-year-old Issac Toney, of Trenton, was charged with using an app to try to lure a 14-year-old boy to Veterans Park in Hamilton, according to authorities. Investigators say he was actually talking to an undercover detective.
Attorney General Christopher Porrino says the operation utilized a new mobile forensics lab and an electronics detection dog.
"The men we arrested lurked in the shadows of the internet and social media, looking for opportunities to sexually assault young children or to view such unspeakable assaults by sharing child pornography," said Attorney General Porrino. "We set up a wide safety net in this operation to snare these alleged predators and to protect children, which remains our highest priority. With our new mobile forensics lab and electronics-sniffing dog, we're even better equipped to uncover the evidence that will keep these offenders behind bars, where they cannot threaten or further exploit vulnerable victims."