COLUMBUS, Ga. — An undercover sting to root out child predators ended early Monday morning with a total 21 men behind bars.
Operation Hidden Guardian is an initiative by state and local investigators to use fake social media and phone app profiles operated by officers to root out predators.
Columbus Police Department Chief Ricky Boren says all 21 suspects agreed to travel to or around Columbus to meet who they thought were underage kids for sex.
Boren’s release says the operation first initiated when the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC) and the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) first contacted local law enforcement back in August to organize a sting.
Hidden Guardian started on November 9 and over the course of the investigation, more than 600 messages were exchanged between undercover officers and online profiles. The release says around 400