Two Local Boys Fall Victim to Child Pornography Ring

- Federal officers arrested 14 men in connection with Operation Round Table for running an underground child pornography website on Darknet's Onion Router, known as TOR. The world wide child exploitation website had over 27,000 members and involved 251 victims in 39 U.S. states and 5 countries.

15 of the identified victims are located throughout north Texas. Two victims are from San Angelo, 3 from Lubbock, 1 from Amarillo, four from Tyler and Five victims from Dallas.

"The real irony of this particular case is that many of the victims if not all of the victims that we have encountered and interviewed along with their parents didn't even realize that they were victims. They thought that they were chatting with a young female of their own age and they were shocked to learn that it was grown men," Homeland Security Special Agent in charge David Marwell said.

Operation Round Table identified 228 of the victims in the United States, mostly underage boys ranging from 3 years of age to 17. Victims were targeted using social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Predators would create false profiles posing as underage females. They would then exchange sexually explicit videos and photographs using webcams. Unknown to the victims those images were recorded and uploaded to the website where they were distributed, traded and sold world wide.

"There are volumes of information that we are combing through as we speak. We will continue to search the information and identify victims that are out there that have been abused and bring other predators to justice," Marwell said.

More than 300 investigations have opened up into potential subscribers of the website: 150 in the United States and 150 overseas. Investigators anticipate ongoing arrests and additional identification of victims as they continue to examine and analyze more than 40 TB of data seized. All those arrested in connection with the case remain in Federal custody. Investigators identified Jonathon Johnson, age 27 of Louisiana, as the primary administrator of the website and faces 20 years to life in prison.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form at Tips can also be made through HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app, which can be downloaded at Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for the Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

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