FBI Special Agents Laura Schwartzenberger and Daniel Alfin are no longer fighting in the war against child predators, having given their lives as they went to conduct a search.
But as noted Tuesday by the Australian Federal Police, the information they helped obtain in 2021 has helped unravel a global pedophile ring.
In the two years since the agents were killed, 98 people have been arrested, including 19 announced in Australia on Tuesday, according to NBC.
“Operation Bakis,” which connected the FBI with the AFP, began after the two special agents were killed executing a search warrant in Sunrise, Florida, for a suspect linked to child pornography. Gunman David Lee Huber was also killed, NBC reported.
According to a release from the Australian Federal Police, the latest batch of arrests brought 13 Australian children to safety.
The release said the FBI search uncovered “a peer-to-peer network allegedly sharing child abuse material on the dark web” that included members in Australia.
Many in the group have information technology expertise, the release said, adding that suspects taken into custody have ranged between 32 and 81 years old.
Members of the group shared files and accessed websites on their private network while relying on encryption to stay ahead of law enforcement.
“Viewing, distributing or producing child abuse material is a horrific crime, and the lengths that these alleged offenders went to in order to avoid detection makes them especially dangerous — the longer they avoid detection, the longer they can perpetuate the cycle of abuse,” AFP Commander Helen Schneider said.
FBI Legal Attaché Nitiana Mann noted that the international partnership has been effective.
“The complexity and anonymity of these platforms means that no agency or country can fight these threats alone. As we continue to build bridges through collaboration and teamwork, we can ensure the good guys win and the bad guys lose,” Mann said.
Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett of the New South Wales Police Force said police are not done yet.
“If you choose to offend against children, it is only a matter of time before police come knocking on your door,” she said. “Together with our law enforcement counterparts, we will continue to use every power available to us to put those targeting children behind bars.”
The #FBI honors Special Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger, who were shot and killed while executing a search warrant at a suspect’s home in Sunrise, Florida #OTD in 2021. #WallofHonor https://t.co/htGwe24Dpb pic.twitter.com/dsQJbWaEl9
— FBI (@FBI) February 2, 2023
After Schwartzenberger and Alfin were killed, CBS noted both had spent the recent parts of their careers fighting child exploitation. Schwartzenberger worked in the Miami field office investigating crimes against children while Alfin was a cybercrime expert.
“As they get smarter, we adapt, we find them. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, except it’s not a game. Kids are being abused, and it’s our job to stop that,” Alfin said in a 2017 interview.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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