Multi-state child pornography sting leads to 82 arrests, 17 rescues

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ATLANTA (AP) -

A roundup operation targeting child pornography suspects resulted in 82 arrests across eight states.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a news release Friday that 31 of the arrests occurred in Georgia. Investigators targeted those seeking and distributing "the most violent sexual abuse material involving infants and toddlers," according to the release.

Most cases involved charges of possessing or distributing child pornography. The GBI said some were charged after making plans to have sex with people the suspects met online and believed were minors, but were actually law enforcement officers.

The suspects ranged in age from 20 to 70.  Some of their occupations included small business owner, store clerk, non-profit employee, mechanic, daycare administrator, youth group leader, former high school band director, freelance photographer, construction worker and painter, according to the GBI.

In addition to the arrests, 17 children were rescued or identified as victims.

Authorities also confiscated eight firearms, ammunition, pornographic material, drugs, and drug paraphernalia during the sting operation.

About 170 agencies also took part in the crackdown in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The GBI said Operation Southern Impact III was planned for four months and the arrests came after three days of undercover operations, executing search warrants and other actions.