GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Federal agents with guns drawn arrested suspected online predators after the culmination of a 5-week long national crackdown on Internet targeting of children.
Sixty-one victims were identified and more than 250 predators were arrested. One of the victims is a teenager from Greenwood Village. The 17-year-old girl met the suspect in an online chat room where he convinced her to take off her clothes while he secretly recorded everything. He then used blackmail to get even more.
Jimmy Caraballo-Colon, 25, was one of the child predators arrested during Operation iGuardian, a federal take down of criminals using the Internet to exploit children.
“These 255 arrests are an important blow in the fight but we need everyone’s help. We must attack child exploitation relentlessly without mercy on every front,” ICE Director John Morton said.
One of the major players arrested, federal agents say Caraballo-Colon had more than 100 victims worldwide. He blackmailed the Greenwood Village girl for personal information like her phone number, email, even Skype and Facebook account information. Investigators call it “sextortion.”
“He said that he would tell their families and he would upload the information and images, and what-not on to overt porn sites,” Patrick Lechleitner with Homeland Security Investigations said.
The girl eventually told her parents who called Greenwood Village police.
Caraballo-colon was arrested in Puerto Rico but agents say his victims span the world. Some of them are as young as 9 years old. Authorities say his arrest was crucial.
“At the end of the day this is one of the priorities for the agency to get these child predators off the streets. They’re the lowest of the low. These are the people we need to get off the streets,” Lechleitner said.
Federal agents are still trying to identify all of the victims in the recordings. Anyone with information is asked to come forward. Parents are urged to carefully monitor children’s online activity.