Major child-pornography bust in New Jersey nabs 27 people, authorities say

A sample of the 27 arrested in the wide-scale New Jersey child pornography bust.
CBS Philly

(CBS) HAMILTON, N.J. - Authorities say 27 suspects have been arrested following a major child pornography bust in New Jersey.

CBS Philly reports the arrests were announced Tuesday by the New Jersey State Police following a three month investigation and five-day sweep, dubbed "Operation Watchdog."

Between April 9th and April 13th, law enforcement officials executed search warrants in 26 different towns across New Jersey.

The FBI and agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement helped in the investigation and execution of warrants.

Police say 26 men and one woman were arrested. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports one 66-year-old Pennsauken man was downloading images when police swarmed his home.

12 of those arrested are from southern New Jersey towns. The youngest suspect is a 17-year-old male who was not named.

Authorities say all 27 people have been charged with Distribution and Possession of a Child Pornography, while some are facing additional charges.

"People think that because they view these images in the privacy of their homes that we're not watching. We are. These images as they're sent and as they're received contain a digital fingerprint," New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said.

"While we call this material child pornography, what we should really call it is what it is. It's videos and pictures of children being raped and tortured," Chiesa said.

The majority of the suspects have been released on their own recognizance and a few are being held in the Camden County Jail.

Three suspects, whose names are not being released at this time, are still being sought.