Law Enforcement in 5 States and Australia to be Honored Next Week for Work on Missing and Sexual Exploitation Children Cases

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 10, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Extraordinary Efforts by Law Enforcement in Australia, California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon Recognized to Commemorate National Missing Children's Day Next week law enforcement officials from five states and Australia will be honored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children(R) (NCMEC) for their extraordinary efforts to recover missing children and resolve child sexual exploitation cases.

Law enforcement from Australia, California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Oregon will be recognized at the 15th Annual Congressional Breakfast held in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill. The event is held each year to commemorate National Missing Children's Day which is observed on May 25. It is hosted by NCMEC, in partnership with the National Fraternal Order of Police and the U.S.

Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and will be attended by members of Congress, as well as federal, state and local officials Also attending the event will be John Walsh, host of the FOX television show "America's Most Wanted," and his wife Reve Walsh.

Each year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 each day. "We set aside one day each year to recognize exceptional law enforcement officers who have distinguished themselves by going the extra mile to rescue children and to capture and prosecute criminals who seek to exploit them," said NCMEC President Ernie Allen. "Our greatest priority as a society is to protect the innocence of our children. The men and women that we honor each year share that goal and have made a real difference." A list of Award Recipients Follows: 2010 National Missing Children's Award Recipients DELAWARE. Detective Jeff Shriner (New Castle) and Investigator Bill David (Wilmington).

Detective Jeff Shriner from the New Castle County, DE Police Department and U.S.

Marshals Service Senior Criminal Investigator Bill David from Wilmington, DE will be honored for their work recovering three children who were abducted by their father and grandmother. Missing for more than a year and a half, the children were taken out of the country and on the run from authorities.

Investigators were forced to follow a trail of bank fraud and deception that required assistance from Interpol, the Diplomatic Security Service, and law enforcement agencies in 7 U.S. states and 9 foreign countries. The children were eventually found in Nicaragua and returned safely to their mother. The father pled guilty to international kidnapping and bank fraud and was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison. The grandmother pled guilty in state court and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

CALIFORNIA. Deputy Sheriff Colin Ingraham (San Diego).

Deputy Sheriff Colin Ingraham from the San Diego, CA Sheriff's Department will be honored for his work in recovering a missing child who became a victim of child sex trafficking. After seeing an advertisement online featuring what appeared to be a very young girl, he identified her as a known missing child and arranged a meeting through an undercover operation in order to recover her. Once the child was recovered, Ingraham coordinated efforts between the San Diego County Sheriff's Office, the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI Innocence Lost Task Force to obtain a federal arrest warrant for the pimp. Once found, the pimp's fingerprints revealed that he had four active arrests in Florida under another identity and had escaped prosecution under his alias for almost 10 years. The pimp took a plea deal and is facing at least 15 years in federal prison for the victimization of the missing child. This case is being used as a model for a new California Peace Officer Standards and Training course in Human Trafficking that will be presented to law enforcement throughout the state of California.

2010 National Exploited Children's Award Recipients NEW JERSEY. Senior Special Agent Victoria Becchina (Newark) Immigration and Customs Enforcement Senior Special Agent Victoria Becchina from Newark, NJ will be honored for her work on a four-year international child pornography investigation that led to more than 400 convictions of criminals who possessed, manufactured, and distributed child pornography as well as dozens who have been convicted for the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Using "out-of-the-box" thinking, Becchina developed groundbreaking techniques that broke the investigation into multiple phases. Phase one consisted of identifying the subscribers to these hard-core child pornography sites; phase two focused on the money laundering aspect of the case; and phase three focused on the identification of the criminals responsible for the distribution of hard core child pornography. Becchina's relentless pursuit led to the arrest of the head of a child pornography organization in Thailand and the extradition of this criminal to stand trial in the United States to answer a 32-count indictment for the distribution and advertising of child pornography, money laundering and other charges. Becchina's efforts have saved dozens of children from lives of torture and abuse.

OREGON. Detective Curtis Newell (Eugene) Detective Curtis Newell from the Eugene, OR Police Department will be honored for his role in recovering seven minor girls who were the victims of sex trafficking and arresting the pimps and johns who were involved in their exploitation. By building a rapport and trust with the minors, Newell was able to get additional information and convince them to testify. He also used surveillance techniques and sting operations throughout the investigation.

Detective Newell and the Vice Squad have made 28 arrests and have obtained 11 convictions so far. He has created a model for mid-sized police departments to conduct these types of investigations and has been asked to present this case at the 2010 Annual Oregon Peace Officers Association's Major Crimes Conference.

2010 Law Enforcement Excellence Award Recipient MARYLAND AND AUSTRALIA. Special Agents Charles Wilder, Barbara Cordero, P.

Michael Gordon and Intelligence Analyst Vicki Pocock (Calverton, MD) and Detective Sergeant Brendan Power (Queensland, Australia).

Supervisory Special Agents Charles Wilder and Barbara Cordero, Special Agent P.

Michael Gordon, and Intelligence Analyst Vicki Pocock of the FBI Cyber Division's Innocent Images Operations Unit (IIOU) in Calverton, MD; and Detective Sergeant Brendan Power of the Queensland Police Service and the FBI Innocent Images Task Force in Australia will be honored for their work on an international child pornography cyber investigation called "Operation Achilles." This 18-month investigation uncovered the existence of a sophisticated underground criminal enterprise involved in the reproduction, distribution and trading of child pornography. The groundbreaking investigation was the first case in U.S. history to successfully charge the new Child Exploitation Enterprise statute; it yielded the largest digital/computer related seizure in U.S. history, and it yielded the first and largest restitution to a child pornography victim. Simultaneous search and arrest warrants were executed in the U.S., Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. Fourteen U.S. citizens were charged in a 40-count criminal indictment with seven sentenced to prison terms ranging from 13-30 years and the remaining seven sentenced to life in prison.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 2,447,000 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 148,400 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 850,890 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 33,635,460 pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.

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