COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Colorado, in partnership with the Colorado Springs Police Department has purchased a dog capable of sniffing out electronics used in child exploitation investigations. The purchase was announced today.
Luna Pixel, a two-year-old Labrador Retriever is now assigned to the Colorado Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) task force.
The Colorado ICAC is a group of local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as prosecutors located in and around the state of Colorado who are trained and dedicated to protecting children online by investigating and prosecuting crimes committed against children, facilitated by the internet, technology and computer usage.
K9 Luna has received several months of training to detect and locate electronic devices and will aid investigators during cases involving children. She can detect hidden electronics such as thumb drives, laptops and hard drives as well as CDs and DVDs.
"The internet is a powerful tool that can enhance people's lives, but unfortunately, that same technology is also used to commit unspeakable crimes against vulnerable populations, to include our community's children," said Christy Sheppard Colorado ICAC commander and CSPD Lieutenant. With K9 Luna joining our team, we can investigate crimes like never before. We are thankful for her skillset and excited to get to work keeping Colorado safe."
The money used to purchase K9 Luna was made possible by funds seized from illicit activity. Taxpayer money was not used.
She has the distinction of being the first working dog in Colorado able to detect electronics and is also a Colorado Springs native.
HSI is committed to combating the sexual exploitation of children and investigations of child sexual exploitation are among HSI's primary investigative priorities.
In fiscal year 2019, the number of children rescued and/or identified from instances of child exploitation grew to 1,069, compared to 859 the year prior. HSI also saw increases in the number of cases initiated, indictments and convictions during the last fiscal year. Since 2013, HSI has rescued and/or identified over 6,500 child victims, thanks in part to initiatives like Project iGuardian.
To report suspicious activity or instances of child sexual exploitation, contact your local law enforcement agency. Tips can be submitted online at https://www.ice.gov/tipline, by phone at 866-DHS-2-ICE or by contacting your local HSI office. Reports can also be filed with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST or online at https://report.cybertip.org/.