Local

Jan 3, 2013 9:54 PM by Lupita Murillo

Federal agents go after child predators

TUCSON- An international operation to rescue child porn victims, and nab their predators wrapped up Thursday.

Investigators are calling "Operation Sunflower" a success. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 245 people.

They also identified 123 victims. Three of those arrests were here in Arizona.

Two in Phoenix, both picked for luring a minor for sexual exploitation. The remaining arrest here in Tucson. Agents say, Billy DeWayne Mills was arrested in November. He was charged with possession of child pornography.

Mills is already a registered sex offender.

The Arizona Deptartment of Public Safety website shows him as a risk level 3, which is high.

His previous conviction was for molestation of a child and possession of child porn.

Mills lives in a northwest neighborhood. The residents declined to go on camera but they did tell News 4 he was quiet and kept to himself. One neighbor didn't even know he was a registered sex offender until ICE agents raided the house.

Assistant Special Agent in charge Richard Fahy says they use technology to track down the predators. He says they're the highway patrol of cyberspace.

"We're trying to intercept it we're trying to identify who is the purveyor of this stuff and the customers."

ICE agents number one goal is to protect our children. And they say they can't do it without the help of the public.

"I think they want to take action they want to get involved they want to do something to stop it I think that's why we've had so much success with this."

Of the more than 100 sexually exploited children who've been identified five are under three years old.

Agents rescued 44 individuals from their abusers.

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