NEW YORK, Sept. 29 -- A cybersting conducted by New York state and federal officials has fingered more than 1,500 suspects who allegedly use the Internet to transmit child pornography around the world. New York State Attorney General Dennis Vacco calls 'Operation Rip Cord' one of the most successful investigations of its kind in the United States.
He says more than 120 alleged kiddie porn traffickers have been referred for prosecution in the United States and abroad. Since Operation Rip Cord began in 1996, investigators collected an estimated 200,000 sexually explicit images of children and seized approximately $137,000 in home computer equipment. The Buffalo-based probe, which identified suspects as far as way as Great Britain and Germany, has racked in 31 convictions in this country, including several in New York. Posing as potential picture trading partners, the undercover team often trawled through chat rooms. Among those caught in the net in New York were Nathaniel Levy, an Albany college student training to be a kindergarten teacher, and Wayne Horne, Jr., a Bronx television network manager who used the screen name 'Diaperluv.' Those convicted are added to New York's 'Megan's Law' registry identifying sexual criminals. New York State Police Superintendent James McMahon said, 'This investigation revealed not only the relative ease with which investigators can obtain child pornography, but also how far and wide the problem of internet child porn distribution really is.' The U.S. Customs Service dubbed the probe 'Tholian Web,' after a British phrase meaning to suffer. ---
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