California News

Jan 3, 2013 7:40 PM by Associated Press

18 arrested in Calif. in child exploitation probe

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Federal and state officials say 18 people have been arrested in Central California in an international child pornography investigation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Mike Prado said at a press conference Thursday that 14 people were arrested in the Fresno area, the highest number of arrests in any region nationwide. Prado said three local children, including a disabled 7-year-old girl, were rescued as part of the operation.

Eleven of the defendants face federal felony charges. Another defendant in state custody was charged in a federal criminal complaint. Seven others face state charges.

Charges include possession, distribution and production of child pornography.

In total, ICE Homeland Security Investigations officials said the investigation led to the arrest of 245 people throughout the U.S and the rescue of 44 victims who were living with their accused abusers.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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