Dozens of people were arrested in several states in a three-day period as officials completed a months-long investigation into distribution and possession of child pornography.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced Friday in a press release that 82 people were arrested and 17 children were rescued as authorities targeted the manufacture and distribution of violent child pornography involving infants and toddlers.
The press release said 31 of the arrests occurred in Georgia, while others occurred in Alabama, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
"While investigators regularly target the trading of all types of child pornography, in Operation Southern Impact III investigators targeted those seeking out and distributing the most violent sexual abuse material involving infants and toddlers," the press release stated.
"The possession, distribution and production of these horrific images is not uncommon. The Georgia ICAC Task Force consistently finds this type of content," it continued.
A total of 171 state and federal agencies were involved in the investigation, according to the press release, including local police organizations and federal law enforcement bureaus.
"Operation Southern Impact III has given us an opportunity to share our experience, information, and resources across units, agencies, and state lines, to make sure that there is no safe place to hide for criminals who would victimize the most vulnerable among us," the press release stated.