RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Two Cary men were among 82 total, arrested in a multi-state child exploitation operation that began four months ago and culminated in three days of investigative actions this week.
Seventeen children were also rescued or identified as victims during the coordinated operation -- called Operation Southern Impact III -- between eight southeastern states.
The operation was coordinated by 10 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces and focused on persons who possess and distribute child pornography and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet.
Over the three days, search warrant executions, undercover operations, arrests and sex offender compliance verification visits were made in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
The arrestees' ranged in age from 20 to 70 years old. Some of their occupations included restaurant employee, firefighter, shipping company employee, small business owner, railroad company employee, store clerk, IT specialist, youth minister, construction worker, graphic designer and students.
Among them, Paul Sullivan and David Kimball, both of Cary, were arrested.
During Operation Southern Impact III, the investigations related to 248 cybertips were advanced through the execution of search warrants and knock and talks, and through the seizure of digital devices which will be forensically processed in the coming weeks.
"Much of what the ICAC Task Force does happens quietly, with little or no information about our work released to the press because of the sensitive investigations of crimes against young children," said North Carolina ICAC Task Force Commander Alan K. Flora. "It's often impossible to tell our stories without revealing the identities of minors who have already been through traumatic events. This three-day operation provides a snapshot of the work that the ICAC Task Force is doing round the clock, seven days per week. Predators are real, and they walk among us. The ICAC Task Force works diligently every day to stop those who prey on our most innocent citizens."
2 Cary men among 82 arrested as part of multi-state child exploitation operation