WJTV News Channel 12 - Cary apartment raided in child porn investigation

Cary apartment raided in child porn investigation

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CARY, N.C. -

Police executed a warrant Tuesday at a Cary apartment where they allege a person was trading in child pornography.

The 13-page court document outlines the steps undercover investigators took during their raid at an address that WNCN is not disclosing at this point because no suspects have been charged.

The documents say police first went to a website offering underage child pornography looking specifically for people from the Cary area sharing that illicit material.

The warrant says investigators determined someone in the apartment they raided had been accessing the child pornography site for almost a year before they executed their search warrant.

Police will not comment on the specifics of the probe.

"It's an ongoing investigation," Cary Police Lt. Steve Fonke said. "We haven't filed any charges in it yet."

However, WNCN learned from the warrant that a computer IP address from a device in the apartment was used to download child pornography and offer it for distribution.

The documents say a person using that IP address has been accessing child pornography chat rooms on the website since May of 2012 and that police watched those chats and recorded the child pornography links posted by someone using that computer.

The warrant lists a full page of items police wanted to seize, including computers, DVDs, correspondence as well as names and address of minors engaged in explicit sexual conduct.

Police say cases like this generate an enormous volume of material that has to be examined.

"These types of cases are very manpower demanding," said Lt. Fonke. "The hours of forensic analysis are quite extensive. It takes a long time to tear these computers apart and assemble the evidence."

Cary's police department is the only one in North Carolina that's part of the federal task force that looks for Internet crimes against children.

It is also the only department in the area with four officers dedicated as a full-time cyber crime unit.

"We're going to do what we can to target the ones that are trading it here," he said.

But, investigators admit they can't keep up with the exponential growth in online child pornography activities.

"By the sheer number of people that trade it, they know the odds of them getting caught are slim, simply because the resources law enforcement contributes to  identifying them pales in comparison to the numbers of people trading it," explained Lt. Fonke.

Investigators also say they rarely, if ever, receive tips from the public in cases involving child pornography and have to rely pretty much on their own undercover efforts.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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