Maui News

Three Arrested in Multiagency Operation Targeting Child Sexual Predators in Hawai‘i

April 23, 2021, 8:20 AM HST
* Updated April 23, 10:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (File 2012)- Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) personnel use specialized computer programs to conduct a forensic analysis of a hard drive. (US Navy photo by Ed Buice/Released)

A multiagency undercover law enforcement operation targeting child sexual predators in Hawaiʻi from April 2-4 resulted in the arrest of three individuals on charges related to the solicitation of minors. Those arrested include two active duty soldiers and one active duty Marine, according to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The operation, known as “Operation Keiki Shield,” was conducted as part of the Hawaiʻi Department of the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. It included personnel assigned to NCIS, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division, the Coast Guard Investigative Service, and Homeland Security Investigations.

According to NCIS, each of the subjects allegedly used online platforms to solicit sex from undercover law enforcement officers whom they believed to be children. Law enforcement officers arrested each of the subjects upon their arrival at a predetermined location.

Four operations conducted jointly between military and civilian law enforcement as part of Operation Keiki Shield since 2019 have resulted in 24 arrests and 16 convictions. Multiple investigations are pending prosecution. Each operation included the participation of between 40 and 55 law enforcement personnel, including special agents, intelligence analysts, and administrative staff.

“The Hawaiʻi Department of the Attorney General and its Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force are committed to working with our military, federal, and local partners to protect one of our most vulnerable populations—Hawaiʻi’s children—from being preyed upon by online predators,” said Hawaiʻi Attorney General Clare E. Connors. “We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with these military criminal investigative agencies and commend their leadership in holding servicemembers who break the law accountable.”

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“As the federal law enforcement organization for the Department of the Navy, NCIS exists to protect our warfighters and their families from the criminal threats, including those posed by child sexual predators,” said NCIS Special Agent in Charge of the NCIS Hawaiʻi Field Office Norman Dominesey. “NCIS and our federal and local law enforcement partners in Hawaiʻi remain committed to working together to proactively root out crime that threatens the safety of our military and civilian communities.”

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“The nature of internet crimes presents difficult challenges for law enforcement agencies, and the success of this operation underscores the professionalism and dedication of the Hawaiʻi Department of the Attorney General, and agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Army Criminal Investigation Command, Homeland Security Investigations, and Department of the Air Force, Office of Special Investigations, who participated,” said AFOSI Special Agent Tim Bonadies, Commander, AFOSI Detachment 601, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “Along with our Task Force partners, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations is committed to identifying and investigating military members who use the internet to harm children. We are proud to be members of the Hawaiʻi Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force team.”

“Keeping our community safe is an important mission,” said Army CID Special Agent Krystal Johnston, Team Chief at the Schofield Barracks CID Office in Hawaiʻi. “It was great to work with the military criminal investigative organizations and other agencies to identify offenders within our ranks.”

“Crimes against children are the worst of the worst,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Honolulu John F. Tobon. “HSI is committed to providing the necessary resources in cooperation with our partner agencies to catch these predators and most importantly to help the victims.”

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NCIS is a federal law enforcement agency that investigates felony crime, prevents terrorism, and protects secrets for the US Department of the Navy. NCIS employs approximately 2,000 personnel, including 1,000 federal special agents, in 41 countries and 191 locations around the world.

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