Authorities Friday revealed 186 child predators were arrested in the Southland during a two-month “Operation Broken Heart” crackdown on Internet sex crimes against children.
Suspects were booked on various offenses, including possession, manufacturing and distribution of child pornography, child annoying, lewd and lascivious acts with a child and violations of sex registration requirements and parole conditions.
The local arrests were part of “Operation Broken Heart IV,” a nationwide law enforcement effort, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“June has been designated as Internet Safety Month, and June is also a time when our children have more free time and less supervision during the summer months away from school,” an LAPD statement said.
“In anticipation of this, in the months of April and May, the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes against Children launched (the) operation …,” the statement said.
Members of the task force conducted almost 1,400 investigations and served nearly 400 search warrants.
The operation used various techniques find, identify, gather evidence and arrest offenders engaged in online enticement of children for sexual purposes, police said.
Among the arrestees was Cushqader Warren, of Los Angeles, who allegedly posted computer games on YouTube and then offered free game cards that would allow access to paid higher-level of play in the games.
“Based upon the number of under-aged boys who appear within Warren’s list of Facebook friends as well as the preliminary search of his computers containing hundreds of thousands of lines of messages and chat logs, this case has the potential to grow to 67 victims,” police said.
The case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for consideration of the filing of 15 charges against Warren, police said.
In another case, authorities arrested Keh-Tai Culbreath, a part-time teacher at Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita in Orange County.
“Detectives served a search warrant at (Culbreath’s) Lake Elsinore home and located electronic storage devices that contained hundreds of child pornographic videos and images,” police said.
The task force is a partnership of numerous local, state and federal agencies. Personnel investigate crimes and also provide training and information on internet safety to schools, parents and law enforcement agencies.
“As technology flourishes, it also gives those who choose to prey on children more readily available devices and opportunities to contact children for the purposes of sexual exploitation,” police said.
“It is imperative that everyone, as individuals and a community become informed and vigilant to root out and report these predators. Awareness is important to keep our children safe while in the `digital playground.’ Parents should be especially informed and vigilant,” police said.
Anyone with information about inappropriate material and attempts to contact children was urged to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via the 24-hour hotline (800) 843-5678, or online at or cybertipline.com. Information can also be reported to WeTip at (800) 78 CRIME.
–City News Service