ORLANDO, FL – Shhhhh. What’s that sound? It’s “Operation Crush Cyber Crime.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Orlando Regional Operations Center, and Schmid Construction teamed up today to crush hard drives, laptops and computer units that were once used to view and store child pornography. The computer equipment, seized during the execution of legal search warrants and the arrests of child pornography suspects, was crushed with a 17,000-pound single drum roller.
All of the cases have been prosecuted and are not subject to appeal.
“Child pornography is a horrible offense that causes unimaginable suffering for victims,” said FDLE Orlando Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks. “It’s symbolic and fitting to use an 8-ton roller to destroy the very equipment used by offenders to harm children. We want to crush any signs of child exploitation whenever and wherever we can.”
“From the start, Schmid Construction was pleased to be a part of this project,” said Tom Dozier, Director of Corporate Development. “Usually, we want to build up something that will benefit our community. Today, we were happy to tear down something that hurts our community. This is our way to support law enforcement and our children.”
Cyber Crime Special Agent Supervisor Jason Cook and his squad erased documents and images on the hard drives during the first part of “Operation Crush Cyber Crime.” The process took weeks. Cook estimates more than 200 pieces of equipment were destroyed. Task Force Agent Bill Nuzzi first approached Cook with the idea of crushing items several months ago. The task force investigates tips that often lead to the arrest and conviction of sex offenders. In 2016, the unit opened 53 new cases and had 117 cases total that were in some phase of investigation or pending trial outcome.
Three video gaming systems seized during the execution of search warrants did not contain images or video. They were given to child advocacy centers, including the Kids House of Seminole Wayne Dench Child Advocacy Center.
If you suspect someone of downloading or distributing child pornography, please call FDLE’s Computer Crimes number at 850-410-7400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.