BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - A large scale internet sex sting operation is being touted as a success by local enforcement. Seventeen people were arrested last week for soliciting children for sex online.
"Within maybe the first two to three hours, we were overwhelmed with responses," explained Investigator James Valley with the Door County Sheriff's Department.
The responses were from people looking to have sexual contact with children. According to investigators, officers made contact with more than 500 suspects over the three day period.
"We had multiple undercover officers working 16 hours a day going on the internet and attempting to locate people who would abuse children," added Valley.
Undercover officers posted listings on websites like Craigslist. They posed as children, or sometimes as adults willing to send children, willing to meet for sex.
The end result was 17 men arrested for crimes such as child enticement and use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime. Eight of those men are from here in northeast Wisconsin.
"We want to make sure that the public is made aware of what's going on in their community," explained Sheriff John Gossage, of Brown County. "and that this will not be tolerated in the state of Wisconsin, on a county level, on a city level. It's going to be stopped."
Dubbed Operation Black Veil, this large-scale sting involved officers from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies, as well as agents from the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation.
Officials said it is the largest coordinated effort to combat internet sex crimes in state history. And it won't be the last.
"Hopefully, the message is you guys will be out there, and in Wisconsin, most notably in northeast Wisconsin where this operation started. We'll be out there looking for you," said Investigator Ken White, with the Brown County Sheriff's Department.