YAKIMA, Wash. - A sting operation called Operation Net Nanny led to the arrest of 16 sexual predators in Yakima, Homeland Security Investigations announced Tuesday.
Investigators said the sting operation lasted over several days and was conducted alongside officials with the Washington State Patrol's Missing and Exploited Children Task Force.
"The crimes these individuals were seeking to engage in are completely reprehensible," said Eben Roberts, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle.
From Saturday to Monday, officials said undercover officers used websites and phone applications to communicate with child sexual predators.
According to investigators, the "would-be perpetrators" traveled from throughout Washington and Idaho to meet with minors – some as young as 11 years old.
They were eventually apprehended by undercover detectives who were posing as the minors.
In total, the operation included more than 70 officers, agents and staff.
"The cooperation of numerous law enforcement agencies to further the goal of public safety involving children is a testament to our dedication and commitment to their well-being and health," said Yakima County Prosecutor Joseph A. Brusic.
Those arrested ranged from 18 to 67 years old.
"As a parent, I'm proud to partner with the Washington State Patrol and Yakima County Prosecutor to ensure those who would prey on children are held accountable," Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.
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