ALBANY, N.Y. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), working together with law enforcement partners, arrested eleven individuals this week for child pornography crimes. As part of the operation, law enforcement also executed 17 search warrants. The week-long joint operation took place in the Northern District of New York.
This operation was initiated by the New York State Internet Crimes Against Children (NYS ICAC) Task Force and the U. S. attorney's office. The operation targeted individuals who use the Internet to entice children for sexual purposes, as well as those who manufacture, distribute, receive and possess child pornography.
Those arrested during this operation are: John Derrigo, William Birtwell, Lorelei Pittsley, Jon Velazquez, Jeffrey Bennett, Richard Webster, Shawn Butcher, Scott Purcell, Joshua Stanfill, Bruce Smith and Kevin Preston. The criminal charges vary by individual but include receipt and possession of child pornography, distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography possession of material depicting the sexual performance of a child and felon in possession of a firearm.
ICE assisted the NYS ICAC Task along with the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, the Ulster and Rensselaer County Sheriff's Departments, the Bethlehem, Troy, Schenectady, Niskayuna, and East Greenbush Police Departments and the U.S. Secret Service.
ICE places a high priority on enforcing laws against child pornography, sexual exploitation, child sex tourism and other crimes against children, and works closely with law enforcement partners worldwide to investigate these crimes.
Each year, millions of children fall prey to sexual predators. Experts estimate that one-in-five girls and one-in-ten boys in the U.S. will be sexually exploited before they reach adulthood. ICE's Operation Predator, the agency's flagship initiative targeting child sex predators, identifies investigates and arrests child pornographers, child sex tourist and facilitators, human smugglers and traffickers of minors, criminal aliens convicted of offenses against minors, and those deported for child exploitation offenses who have returned illegally.
Under Operation Predator, ICE has made more than 11,600 arrests worldwide since 2003.