Kevin Porter, Thomas Mickey Tuner, Alan James Ender, and over 50 others were arrested in Florida as part of a nationwide operation targeting online child sex offenders and illicit porn traffickers, a press release by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations announced recently. Porter, 26, of Melbourne, faces charges of distribution and possession of child pornography; Turner, 65, of Daytona Beach, faces charges of failure to properly register as a sex offender and possession of child pornography; Ender, whose age and place of residence were not specified, was booked into police custody on unspecified charges. It was not immediately clear whether the defendants qualified for bail bond. The press did not specify a defense attorney for the defendants.
According to reports, the arrests were part of a nationwide investigation dubbed “Operation iGuardian” that targeted child pornographers, suspects attempting to entice children online, and suspects who download and share child pornography over the internet. The investigation was orchestrated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, who released information on Monday. “Our ultimate goal is to protect children in the digital age,” a spokesperson for the operation reportedly said.
Sources say the investigation ran from May 28 to June 30. During that time, investigators searched for children who were being exploited by predators over the internet, as well as the persons who were abusing them, reports indicate. Throughout the country, the operation has so far netted 255 arrests of suspects accused of being child predators. A spokesperson from HIS also said the operation has identified 61 victims, three of whom are from Florida. Reports say the victims ranged in age from three years old to late teens. At least four of the victims were under the age of three, sources indicate.
According to reports, out of the 61 victims identified, 24 had been in contact with predators online who had sexually exploited them. “We need to talk to our children about the good and the bad of the internet. We need to teach them how to protect themselves from online predators,” An HSI spokesperson was quoted as saying in reports. “If they are exploited online, they should report it. There are dedicated law enforcement officers and special agents who will do something about it.”
Porter was one of 58 Florida suspects arrested as part of the operation, reports say. While the details surrounding Porter’s arrest are still unclear, sources say a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of distributing and possessing child pornography. Porter has since been arrested and is awaiting trial.
Turner was also arrested in Daytona Beach as part of the operation. According to reports, officers arrested Turner after he allegedly downloaded child pornography onto his cell phone. Sources also indicate that Turner had been arrested before and was required to register as a sex offender, but failed to do so.
Reports say Ender is a federal employee who works at the Patrick Air Force Base. Sources say Ender abused as many as two children in a scheme to create child pornography. It is unclear whether detectives identified those alleged victims.