LOS ANGELES — Authorities throughout Southern California say they’ve arrested more than 275 child predators including a teaching assistant for special needs kids, a retired sheriff’s deputy, a U.S. Army soldier and a Los Angeles Fire Department explorer.
The monthlong “Operation Broken Heart” involved a taskforce of dozens of local, state and federal authorities who did sweeps on sex offenders, parolees and probationers and targeted child sex traffickers, pimps, child porn traders and sex tourists traveling abroad.
Undercover investigators pretended to be 12 to 14-year-old children online and arrested people who showed up to engage in sex acts with children. Authorities say a teacher’s assistant, a former substitute teacher and a U.S. Army soldier all fell for the ruse.
Forensic investigators are still analyzing seized evidence; arrests and allegations are expected to grow.