MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – Several Wisconsin law enforcement agencies have partnered up to conduct a month-long FBI-led operation to stop child exploitation.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday that three Wisconsin agencies including Milwaukee Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern
District of Wisconsin, and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office have been working together on the international operation titled “Operation Kick Boxer” that targets individuals that are sexually abusing children and distributing child sexual abuse materials.
“Our nation is seeing a disturbing increase in reports of potential child exploitation,” said United
States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger. “Operation Kick Boxer shows the Justice Department’s
commitment to working with law enforcement partners at all levels to confront child exploitation
Officials shared that this operation has located and recovered 18 children from being sexually exploited as well as has resulted in dozens of arrests across the country, as well as in other countries including Canada, United Kingdom, Romania, and France.
FBI Milwaukee SAC Hughes said in a statement, “Through operations like this, the FBI
helps child victims escape the abusive sexual exploitation occurring in their homes by people
The operation is said to have taken place primarily in the month of June and relied on more than 63 law enforcement agencies working on FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces in each of the Bureau’s 56 field offices and via the FBI’s Legal Attaché Offices throughout the world.
The FBI said the initiative included undercover operations and led to the opening of over five dozen federal and international criminal investigations.
Agents and analysts at FBI Milwaukee are said to have worked closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to coordinate and reduce the risk of these law enforcement operations.
Officials reported approximately 65 suspected distributors, manufacturers, and hands-on offenders have been identified by law enforcement, arrested, and/or are in the process of being formally
According to the FBI, an example of the local impact as a result of Operation Kick Boxer was the June 23rd indictment of Oshkosh resident, 51-year-old Martin McKeever, who was charged with two counts of possessing and distributing child pornography.
Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz commented, “We are pleased to have our federal partners
working with us on this priority operation. We recognize children are the most vulnerable
population we serve and protecting them will always be of greatest importance to law
SAC Hughes said the FBI’s focus on the issue is not confined to a single week or month each year. The effort to find and stop pedophiles and recover kids is ongoing and continuous.
SAC Hughes shared, “Our agents, intelligence analysts, professional staff, and victim specialists work
tirelessly before, during, and after these operations to make sure that victims get the help, they
need to reclaim their lives.”