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14 charged in online child exploitation network
Washington - (AP) - Federal authorities say they've arrested 14 people in connection with an online child exploitation network that operated in the United States and overseas.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other officials announced the arrests Tuesday. They say the network involved roughly 250 child victims in 39 states and five countries. Most were boys between the ages of 13 and 15.
Johnson says the investigation disrupted a subscription-based website of more than 27,000 members who were involved in producing and distributing child pornography images.
Authorities say the alleged leader of the operation has admitted creating multiple fake female personas to entice boys to produce sexually explicit images of themselves.
Eleven of the 14 defendants have been charged in Louisiana. The three remaining defendants are in other states.
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