WASHINGTON Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it has arrested 255 people in an international child exploitation investigation.
ICE officials say they also identified 61 child victims in Operation iGuardian, the five-week investigation that ended June 30.
Twenty people were charged with online sexual enticement of a minor. The remaining 235 people were charged with child pornography production, possession or distribution of child pornography, traveling with the intent to have sex with a minor, or other various offenses including rape.
"Children and parents need to understand that not everyone online is who they say they are," ICE Director John Morton said in a press release. "Child abusers prowl social media looking for opportunities to force young people into sexual exploitation through guile, deceit, and extortion.
So far this year, agents have arrested more than 1,600 people in such investigations.
According to the ICE press release, investigators pointed to three "significant" arrests during the operation: Jimmy Caraballo-Colon, 25, a former high school cheerleading coach and athlete from Caguas, Puerto Rico; John David Boyle, 49, a former middle school teacher from Glendora, Calif.; and Eduardo Arturo Romero Barrios, 33, a Mexican national.