By: Francisco Diaz, The Laredo Sun
Among those arrested were a federal agent, a Marine and an Army contractor.
"This unit was created two years ago as a special need in this community to try to stop predators who attack children. The results have been excellent, "said Sheriff Martin Cuellar.
He said the four investigators assigned to this division work especially during school holidays, because that's when children spend more time surfing the Internet and the risk of being contacted by predators increases.
"We conducted two operations in two years. The first one we captured 10 criminals and the second, 16. In almost all cases, the agents posed as alleged victims to stop them in the act," he said.
Those arrested included a federal agent of a corporation, a Marine and a military contractor but there were also accountants, workers, seniors and parents.
In these cases, the DA's Office already has the records to initiate formal proceedings in the courts.
Cuellar said that this summer the Cyber Unit began operations in the network and that they caught a predator on the first day.
"We will continue to work closely with the mission to protect our children," said Cuellar.
But he said that parents should put in from their part to reduce the risk of their children are victims of offenders in the network.
He noted that one of the recommended measures is to place the computer in a central location, so parents can monitor what they watch on the Internet.
"It is not recommended for children to have a computer with Internet in their rooms. Always be alert and communicate with your children," he said.
The Sheriff said that parents should learn the basics of the computer to protect their children against predators.
"So this way, parents may review the files of what their children are seeing on the network and can educate them about the proper way to use the internet with the least possible risk," he said.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUTH
- Do not put personal information such as name, age and school on the net
- Always remember that an adult should not have a relationship with a minor
- User names on the network should be generic and anonymous
- The profiles on the network must also be generic and anonymous
- If you see something strange on a website, leave it immediately
- Do not send personal photos to "internet friends"
- Those who are in a chat are not always who they say they
- For further information on safety measures, parents can call (956) 523-4523