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Child Exploitation
11/01/2010

2 men arrested for child pornography during 'Operation Safe Halloween'

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Two men were arrested Friday following the execution of search warrants for child pornography during "Operation Safe Halloween" conducted by the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office (WCSO), Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Arrested during the operation were William Lee Johnson, 34, and John Elwin Roberts, 58, both of Crawfordville, Fla.

The suspects became the subject of an undercover investigation that began in September as detectives discovered the suspects' computer Internet Protocol addresses with illegal files on file sharing systems. Investigators viewed the images and positively identified them as child pornography.

"Through partnerships with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies, ICE will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa, Fla.

Johnson was charged with seven counts of possessing photographs of a sexual performance of a child. The search warrant revealed more than 200 images of child pornography. Seven videos were viewed and determined to be child pornography.

Additional charges are pending following the forensic analysis of the computer and computer equipment by FDLE.

Roberts was charged with one count of possession of obscene material for photographs of sexual performance by a child. Several computers and hard drives were located in the home and they were collected as evidence. An attempt had been made to delete images but one video was found.

Johnson is being held in the Wakulla County Jail under a $70,000 bond. Roberts posted a $7,500 bond and was released Saturday.

The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.