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February 23, 2021Phoenix, AZ, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI partners with local law enforcement in child exploitation takedown

Operation Broken Hearts – Child Sex Crimes Arrests, Phoenix Police Department

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) collaborated with the Phoenix Police Department, Mesa Police Department, Tempe Police Department, Chandler Police Department, and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office for Operation Broken Hearts. The week long sting operation began in early February resulted in nearly 40 arrests of suspected child predators.

“This multiagency operation is just one of many examples that underscores the importance of working together with our local and state law enforcement partners to take these alleged predators off the streets,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “The relentless work by all resulted in an impressive number of arrests. We will continue our unwavering commitment to serve and protect our community against anyone seeking to sexually exploit our most vulnerable population.”

Operation Broken Hearts was an undercover operation targeting sexual predators engaged in child sex crimes and human trafficking. Throughout the operational period, officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites and apps which are commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts with children. These 37 suspects solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts and were subsequently arrested.

Each year, these agencies come together to conduct operations of this type in a continuous effort to reduce the demand that fuels child and human sex trafficking from our communities. The suspects in the latest operation ranged in age from 21 to 66-years-old.

Like all defendants, those accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 02/25/2021