Standing next to a board filled with mugshots, Attorney General Roy Cooper said "Operation Spyglass" allows undercover investigators to identify suspects who download and share files that contain illegal child pornography, even when the suspects try to remain anonymous.
So far, 24 suspects have been arrested in the last two months by State Bureau of Investigation agents working with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
Among those arrested are an active duty Marine Captain in Pender County, a teacher in Sampson County, a firefighter in Robeson County, a television editor in Wake County, and a British man after he sent child pornography and suggestive gifts to a Catawba County girl he met online.
In one case, an investigator actually found a child being abused and rescued her from that situation. Otherwise it's unclear if any of the other children the men are accused of exploiting are local children.
Investigators have also served 27 search warrants to seize computers containing thousands of illegal photos and videos of abused children, some as young as age three.
"Criminals use technology to spread these horrible images and prey on kids, and we're using advanced technology to catch suspects across North Carolina," Cooper said. "Law enforcement needs tough laws and the latest tools to stop the criminals."
The attorney general also said several other investigations are underway, with more searches and arrests expected.