ICE arrests 32 suspects in 'undercover child exploitation operation'

The Kansas operation follows the arrest of 43 suspects in an Arizona sex trafficking operation late last month

Updated: June 7, 2022 - 6:23pm

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An Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation has resulted in the arrest of 32 suspects allegedly involved in child sex crimes in the Wichita, Kansas, area.

ICE's Homeland Security Investigations partnered with local law enforcement for "Operation Blue Ghost" from May 17 to June 2. Together, they conducted an "undercover child exploitation operation" in Wichita, the agency announced Monday in a press release.

During the first phase of the operation from May 17-19, Homeland Security Investigations' Wichita office and the Wichita Police Department "targeted adults willing to travel for the sexual exploitation of a child which resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals for crimes related to aggravated human trafficking, promoting the sale of sex, and the purchase of commercial sex acts," ICE said. 

The second phase from May 31-June 2 involved many more law enforcement agencies, resulting in the arrest of 15 more suspects for crimes including child sex trafficking, felony assault of a police officer, and promoting prostitution.

"I am extremely proud of all of the special agents, analysts, and officers whose hard work and dedication made this operation a success," HSI acting Special Agent in Charge R. Sean Fitzgerald said. "Our joint commitment to protecting children has removed these 32 dangerous individuals from our streets and hopefully sends a clear message to others looking to harm children."

Operation Blue Ghost follows the arrest of 43 suspects in an Arizona sex trafficking operation late last month.