We use the Internet just about every day, and chances are many readers of this blog do too, whether it’s to play games, check email, post to Facebook or do some online shopping. For the most part, people feel safe online thanks to passwords and user names.
However, chances are you are not as anonymous and protected as you may think. This can be particularly upsetting to people who may be saying or doing things online they wouldn’t say or do in real life. For example, if you have engaged in illicit exchanges with minors online, it is quite likely that people know or are trying to know who you are. These people are state and federal law enforcement agents.
At any given time, extensive efforts are being made to track down people engaging in online solicitation of minors. We typically don’t hear about these efforts unless and until they are successful; when they are successful, several people are often arrested and charged in these sting operations.
These operations often involve several different the pooling of resources and materials from multiple law enforcement agencies. For instance, recently multiple agencies were involved in the investigation into and arrest of three men accused of soliciting a minor using the Internet.
Together with the city police department, multiple federal agencies were involved in the investigation including the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations and was part of a larger initiative called Operation Predator.
What we want readers to take away from this post is that being arrested in light of these efforts can be overwhelming, scary and intimidating. Whether you are sitting in a room with federal agents or watching as police tear through your house with a search warrant, you need to know that you are in a very serious situation.
Consulting an attorney as soon as possible can help you protect yourself and level the playing field. Law enforcement agents may have a better understanding of state and federal laws; when it comes to online sting operations, they have likely been dedicated to the investigation for weeks, months or longer and want to see their work pay off. Having an attorney to protect your future and defend your rights can be vital.