The Washington State Patrol arrested 22 suspected dangerous sexual predators during a multi-day sting operation in Thurston County this month.
This was the 15th operation known as "Operation Net Nanny," led by the WSP's Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF), an Internet Crimes Against Children affiliate.
From Feb. 15-20, undercover officers used websites and apps to contact to communicate with people interested in having sex with children, said WSP in a news release.
Investigators said after hundreds of responses, the suspects who were arrested traveled to meet the undercover detectives who posed as underage girls and boys, as young as 6 years old.
Among the 22 arrested, three of them are from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
"While the internet is a powerful tool for our nation, criminals using it to target our communities' necessitates a need for this type of proactive investigations by our law enforcement troopers and partners in order to combat these horrible crimes," said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. "This operation is aimed at protecting our vulnerable children and making communities safer."
Seventy officers, agents and staff led the operation.
Since the operation started in August 2015, MECTF has made 246 arrested and rescued 30 children across the state.
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