Crime Trackers

Feb 10, 2014 10:34 PM by Lupita Murillo

Internet Crimes Against Children detectives busy taking down accused predators

TUCSON - It's a unit that's been around since 2008.It started with two donated computers.
The Internet Crimes Against Children or ICAC has arrested almost 100 accused predators hiding behind computer screens.

Detective Dan Barry who has been in the unit since the beginning says, it's due to tools, training and techniques that they are arresting more predators. "Child pornography is endemic it's all over the internet. We're slammed we can't get a break."

The numbers say it all, in 2012 they arrested 17. Last year it nearly doubled to 32.

They transformed a former prisoner transport vehicle into a mobile command post they take on the serving of search warrants. It's in the ICAC vehicle where detectives can conduct interviews and scan through computers.

It was detectives in the unit that designed and the built the mobile command post.

Det. Barry says they want to send a message . "If you are going to be out there downloading and sharing child pornography, we're going to find you and we're going to arrest you."

Mickey Bennett was arrested in January by ICAC. Detective Barry says they received information in December that someone in a Westside neighborhood was downloading child porn. They began their investigation and it led them to a house he was living in.

They obtained a search warrant and together with the U.S. Marshals child predator apprehension team they went through the house and seized computers, a cell phone, and thumb drives.

The computer forensics examiner scans through the items inside the ICAC mobile command post parked in front of the house. Detective Barry says "We found multiple images, and materials depicting children under 18 engaged in sexual exploitive exhibition."

The 37-year-old Bennett was arrested and taken to the Pima County Jail. He's booked on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Detectives say he was loading and sharing pictures of children. In Arizona, the presumptive sentence is 10 years per image.

Residents were shocked when they heard about their neighbor. Philip Holman says, "It's awful. This neighborhood is a pretty community oriented neighborhood tool. It's just terrible."

Another resident who asked not to be identified says, "This disturbs me very much because we have the school close by, and the park, and of course my grandson comes to my home after school. "

It's evident the ICAC unit is committed to keeping our children safe. If you have a story for Crime Trackers, email crimetrackers @kvoa.com.

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