JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested 48 child predator suspects, including a man from Jacksonville and another from Lake City, as part of a six-month investigation known as Operation Amalgamate.
Steven Deloge, 37, of Jacksonville, was charged with one count of computer pornography, and Mario Moss, 27, of Lake City, was charged with 10 counts of child pornography.
The investigation began in July after Attorney General Pam Bondi and FDLE merged the FDLE's Computer Crime Center and the Attorney General's Child Predator Cybercrime Unit to more effectively investigate online child exploitation, officials said.
The merger created specialized units within FDLE focused on investigating Internet sex crimes against juveniles.
"The arrests in Operation Amalgamate show the strength of what has become one team with one goal -- to find and arrest Internet predators attempting to victimize our children," FDLE Gerald Bailey said. "Thanks to General Bondi's leadership, the merger has allowed FDLE to expand its squads statewide."
"We are committed to protecting our children from cyber crimes, and I commend the law enforcement community for their continued dedication to stopping these criminals from exploiting our children," Bondi said.
Operation Amalgamate investigators found child sex predators in chat rooms, utilizing instant messaging, texting, dating sites, social networks and online classified ads. FDLE agents in partnership with local law enforcement agencies arrested 48 suspects in 17 Florida counties.
"Operation Amalgamate clearly demonstrates a successful collaboration between local and state law enforcement to address this serious issue," said Paul Sireci, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association and Tampa International Airport Chief of Police.
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