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AG Lynn Fitch reports on successful...

AG Lynn Fitch reports on successful operation to protect children from online predators

By: Anne Summerhays - November 1, 2021

Operation Sweet Tooth leads to 4 arrests, 5 search warrants, and multiple ongoing investigations

In partnership with the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, Attorney General Lynn Fitch reported on a cyber crime operation, Operation Sweet Tooth, carried out in the week leading up to Halloween. The operation led to four arrests for the exploitation or enticement of minors, the execution of five search warrants, and multiple ongoing investigations, which may lead to additional arrests.

“My Office is committed to keeping Mississippi’s children safe from those who would harm them physically, mentally, and emotionally, and rob them of their innocence,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “I am grateful to the dedicated prosecutors and investigators of this Office and to our partners in local, state, and federal law enforcement for their work on this operation and every day to clear the Internet of child predators.”

The Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia Police Department, Picayune Police Department, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Secret Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Mississippi Department of Investigation also aided Operation Sweet Tooth.

In Fiscal Year 2020, the MS Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Task Force received 1,383 CyberTips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which administers the national CyberTipline. ICAC is tasked with the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting child exploitation crimes.

In June, AG Fitch said, “I’m putting the full resources of this office behind our fight to protect children from vicious predators. I commend the hard-working investigators and prosecutors in my Cyber Crime Division for their work to get child predators offline and away from our children.”

Fitch announced in April that a week-long effort known as Operation Blue Rain led to the arrest of at least six individuals on charges related to the sexual exploitation or enticement of minors, as well as three suspects arrested on charges related to narcotics.

“Nothing motivates me more than protecting our children from predators who would rob them of their innocence,” Attorney General Lynn Fitch had said.

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth.