MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) On November 8, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) special agents arrested 51-year-old Gerald Roberts. Roberts was arrested at the Beach Walk Hotel on South Ocean Boulevard.
According to a federal affidavit, Roberts posted sexually explicit pictures of a female around four to six years old to several Internet sites. The affidavit states Roberts used the Internet to trade the photographs as well.
Roberts' arrest was part of an international operation aimed at rescuing victims and targeting individuals who own, trade and produce images of child pornography. During the sting that lasted from November 1st- December 7th, 245 suspects were taken into custody.
"We have agents that are constantly checking the Internet and different websites that are involved in child pornography and trying to find out what information they can from that pornography and send it out to leads around the country," Resident Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations Patrick McDavid said.
HIS, along with other law enforcement agencies identified 123 victims of child exploitation. Of that number, 44 children were directly rescued from their abusers.
"These incidences are extremely traumatic and can have a devastating impact on a child's life and on the family of the child. And so it can be a lifelong process in many cases," McDavid said.
The affidavit obtained by WMBF News states Roberts admitted to the production of child pornography involving the child victim and estimated he had taken 1,000 images of her.
Roberts pleaded not guilty to the charges on December 12, 2012.