Trinity Mount Ministries

Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Nearly 100 arrested in global child sex abuse operation launched after murder of FBI agents


Close to 100 people have been arrested in Australia and the United States in connection with a global online child abuse network uncovered in the aftermath of a high-profile murder of two FBI agents, authorities announced this week. 

The myriad charges for alleged child abuse stem from the killings of two FBI special agents, Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger, who were fatally shot in 2021 while serving a warrant in Sunrise, Florida, to search the apartment of a suspect allegedly tied to a case involving violent crimes against children

FBI Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger and FBI Special Agent Dan Alfin were shot and killed in the line of duty serving a search warrant in Sunrise, Florida, on Feb. 2, 2021.FBI

The deaths of Alfin and Schwartzenberger, who both specialized in investigating crimes against children, spurred a wider international probe into an illicit online platform whose members are accused of sharing child abuse material on the dark web, according to the Australian Federal Police. 

news release
 as a "sophisticated" digital network. Members are believed to have produced, searched for and distributed images and videos of child abuse material on the dark web, officials said. 

Two people have been sentenced in Australia for their ties to the massive investigation, while the others have active cases in court, according to the federal police. In addition to the 19 arrests, authorities also removed 13 Australian children from harm over the course of the probe. Federal police allege some of those children were "directly abused" and others were removed as a precaution.

Called "Operation Bakis," the joint investigation involving state and local authorities in various parts of Australia ran alongside a U.S. investigation led by the FBI. The FBI investigation has so far led to the arrests of 79 people allegedly connected to the online network, the Australian Federal Police said. That probe has led to the convictions of 43 people for child abuse offenses, the Associated Press reported.

The suspects — who were arrested across Australia, including in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia — collectively face 138 charges related to the investigation. One suspect described as a "public servant" by federal police was already sentenced to 14 1/2 years in prison in June after pleading guilty to 24 charges. The same month, a call center operator on the NSW Central Coast was sentenced to five years after pleading guilty to possession of an estimated five terabytes of child abuse material.


"The success of Operation Bakis was only possible because of the close working relationship between the AFP-led ACCCE [Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation] and the FBI, and our dedicated personnel who never give up working to identify children who are being sexually assaulted or living with someone who is sharing child abuse material," said Australian Federal Police Commander Helen Schneider in a statement. 

Schneider added that "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."

Most of the suspects in Australia worked in jobs that required a high degree of knowledge in the field of information communications technology, the federal police said, noting that alleged members of the online platform "used software to anonymously share files, chat on message boards and access websites within the network." The suspects are accused of using methods like encryption to remain anonymous online and avoid being identified by law enforcement.

Both Australian and U.S. authorities noted that the success of Operation Bakis hinged on cooperation between agencies in both countries.

"The complexity and anonymity of these platforms means that no agency or country can fight these threats alone," FBI legal attaché Nitiana Mann said in a separate statement. "As we continue to build bridges through collaboration and teamwork, we can ensure the good guys win and the bad guys lose."

Mann said the FBI alerted authorities in other countries to additional suspects in their jurisdictions who are allegedly connected to the online child abuse ring, but did not did say which countries, according to the Associated Press.

Friday, January 27, 2023

In 2017, a 15-year-old girl snuck out to meet a man and never came back...

Then, her parents made a shocking discovery.

Fatim Hemraj

Sophie Reeder Photo by Facebook

15-year-old Sophie Reeder was born to Patrick Reeder and Nicole Twist, who divorced when she was two. Loved ones described Sophie as an introvert who liked all types of music and mostly kept to herself.

At 12, Sophie began to exhibit behavioral issues. She often snuck out to take late-night walks without telling Nicole, and once ran away for a few days. Nicole set strict house rules but Sophie refused to follow them and decided to move in with her father, who was more relaxed.

After Sophie moved in with her father, she left Stranahan High School and began to take her classes online. Patrick bought her a cell phone and a laptop which gave her more freedom, however, Sophie continued to act out. In March 2017, Patrick told Sophie that he planned to send her to an all-girls boarding school. Two months later, Sophie vanished into thin air.

Sophie Reeder Photo by Dr Phil

On May 14, 2017, Sophie spent Mother’s Day with Nicole for what turned out to be the last time. Five days later, on May 19, Sophie snuck out of her father’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida home and never returned. Patrick spent two days calling and texting Sophie, expecting her to show up. When she didn’t, he called Nicole, and they reported Sophie missing on May 22.

According to Patrick, he last saw Sophie around 11:30 pm on May 19 when she was nervously pacing back and forth in the home. Patrick didn’t think much of it and told her to go to bed. When he checked Sophie's room at 9:30 am the next morning, he found a lit candle. Her bed was neatly made and her laptop was open. On her calendar, May 19 was crossed out with a big X.

Patrick and Nicole were able to access Sophie's laptop and they made a shocking discovery; she had been visiting sugar daddy websites and communicating with strange men. They also found $300 cash, a fake F/A, and a second secret cell phone in Sophie's bedroom. The phone only had 12 contacts. Phone records showed that she communicated with a specific man several times.

CCTV footage showed Sophie walking out of her Citrus Isle neighborhood around 11:30 pm. She wandered around for nearly two hours and was last seen on CCTV footage at 2:16 am a mile away from her home near Stranahan High School. The man that Sophie had been communicating with lived nearby in an apartment complex. Her phone last pinged in that area at 9 am on May 20, after which it was either turned off or died.

Sophie Reeder Photo by Sun Sentinel

Sophie was last seen wearing a black dress, brown fur coat, and red converse sneakers. She was holding either a black backpack or purse and had on white Beats by Dre headphones.

An investigation determined that the man Sophie likely went to see contacted a known H/T who lived in a unit in the same apartment complex shortly after her phone stopped pinging.

Two months later, the apartment, located on SW 11th Ct & SW 18th Ave, was searched. 25 cell phones, two computer towers, a journal, and a pair of white headphones were obtained, however, none of the items were linked to Sophie. Investigators believe that Sophie met with someone and intended to return home since she left a lit candle behind, along with $300 in cash. They believe she was groomed and is a victim of H/T.

Sophie Reeder Photo by NCMEC

The search for Sophie Reeder continues nearly six years later. She will turn 21 on February 19, 2023. She is biracial (half Black & half white), 5'1", and 110 lbs with curly brown hair and brown eyes.

If you have any information, contact Fort Lauderdale PD at 954-828-6677.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

FLHSMV: Back-to-School Safety Checklist

It is back-to-school for Treasure Coast public school students next week on Wednesday August 10.

Here is a school safety check list from the FLHSMV Department.

Secure their future – buckle up and choose the right seat

  • Seat belts save lives and are required to be worn by all drivers, front-right passengers, and anyone under the age of 18; however, FLHSMV strongly recommends seat belt usage for all ages.
  • The best car seat is the one that fits your child’s size, is correctly installed, fits well in your car, and is used properly every time you drive.
  • Be sure to read the seat’s instruction manual and the portion of your vehicle’s owner manual when installing a car seat in your vehicle.
  • Remember to check for car seat and booster seat recalls and sign up to receive any potential alerts in the future.
Safety Tips.jpg
Image Courtesy FDOT

Stop for school buses and slow down in school zones

  • As of January 1, 2021, the penalties for failing to stop for a school bus and passing a stopped school bus on the side where children enter and exit doubled. It is imperative that all motorists properly stop for school buses so all of Florida’s children can arrive at school or home safely.
  • Using a wireless communications device in a handheld manner while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area is against the law and extremely dangerous.
  • Be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops, school buses and in school parking lots. Pay extra attention to the lower speed limits in school zones. Only drive or park in authorized areas to drop off or pick up children at school.

Move safely together – look out before you step out

  • Always walk on the sidewalk if there is one. If no sidewalks are present, walk against the direction of traffic so that you can see oncoming vehicles.
  • Cross the roadway where pedestrians are expected, at corners or in crosswalks, and watch for traffic when crossing the street.
  • Pay attention. Avoid headphones so that you can hear the traffic and pedestrians around you. Never text or look at your phone when crossing the street.

Check for kids and pets

  • As routines change, it’s imperative to remain vigilant and make sure all children are out of the vehicle and accounted for before leaving. Put your purse, phone, or shoe in the backseat as a reminder to check.
  • Never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle. Florida temperatures are hot and will rapidly increase in minutes, even if parked in the shade or with a window cracked.

For additional safety tips, resources, and data related to child safety visit the FLHSMV Child Safety webpage.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Floridians Charged and Convicted in Connection with International Enterprise that Operated Sexually Exploitive ‘Child Modeling’ Websites


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Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Wednesday, August 18, 2021



Floridians Charged and Convicted in Connection with International Enterprise that Operated Sexually Exploitive ‘Child Modeling’ Websites

A series of charges and convictions were announced today in connection with an international enterprise based in Florida that operated subscription-based sexually exploitive “child modeling” websites.

According to court documents, Kenneth Power (deceased at 58, of Weston), was a principal member of the Newstar Enterprise – an internet-based business aimed at for-profit sexual exploitation of vulnerable children under the guise of “child modeling” through a collection of websites called the Newstar Websites. Patrice Eileen Wilowski-Mevorah, 53, of Tampa, and Mary Lou Bjorkman, 58, of Lutz, recently pleaded guilty to laundering money for the Newstar Enterprise. Other members of the Newstar Enterprise resided in Europe. Kenneth Power’s wife, Tatiana “Tanya” Power, 41, of Weston, is currently pending trial on money laundering charges in connection with the Newstar Enterprise.

According to court documents, founded around 2005, the Newstar Enterprise built, maintained, hosted and operated the Newstar Websites on servers in the United States and abroad. To populate the Newstar Websites with content, Newstar Enterprise members sourced, enticed, solicited and recruited males and females under the age of 18, some of whom were prepubescent, to use as “child models” for the Newstar Websites. Using the recruited child-victims, the Newstar Enterprise produced more than 4.6 million sexualized images and videos to distribute and sell on the Newstar Websites. Some of those images and videos, though non-nude, depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. For example, images and videos sold on the Newstar Websites depicted children as young as 6 years old in sexual and provocative poses, wearing police and cheerleader costumes, thong underwear, transparent underwear, revealing swimsuits, pantyhose and miniskirts. Most of the child-victims - recruited from Ukraine, Moldova and other nations in Eastern Europe - were particularly vulnerable due to their age, family dynamics and poverty. Law enforcement officers have disabled the servers hosting the Newstar Websites.

The Newstar Enterprise maintained a membership list for subscribers and customers of the Newstar Websites, who originated from 101 nations across the world. Images in the websites’ galleries were freely available to the public to preview, but greater access and more content required purchasing a subscription. The sale of purported “child modeling” content on the Newstar Websites generated more than $9.4 million during the course of the conspiracy. To process, receive and distribute this money, Newstar Enterprise members fraudulently opened merchant and bank accounts in the United States and laundered proceeds using a bogus jewelry company. 

To date, four members of the Newstar Enterprise have been charged in connection with the Newstar Websites. The chart below shows the statuses of each case. 


Case Number



Maximum Penalty

Tatiana Power


Conspiracy to commit money laundering; international promotion money laundering; concealment money laundering


pending trial

100 years’ imprisonment

Kenneth Power


Conspiracy to advertise child pornography; conspiracy to distribute child pornography

Defendant deceased; case dismissed

60 years’ imprisonment

Patrice Wilowski-Mevorah


Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Pleaded guilty, sentence pending

20 years’ imprisonment

Mary Lou



Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Pleaded guilty, sentence pending

20 years’ imprisonment

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The defendants have also been notified that the United States intends to forfeit a total of $9.4 million, which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses, in addition to real property located in Florida.

These cases were investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in Tampa, with substantial assistance provided by Homeland Security Investigations offices in Fort Lauderdale, Athens, and the Hague, as well as the IRS-Criminal Investigation in Tampa. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided investigative assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Murray of the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorney Kyle Reynolds of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) are prosecuting these cases.

This investigation benefited from foreign law enforcement cooperation and substantial assistance by the Republic of Bulgaria, Supreme Cassation Prosecution Office and National Investigation Service; the Republic of Moldova, Office of the Prosecutor General and National Inspectorate of Investigations; the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Department for Combating Crime Cybercrime Office, Public Prosecution Service (North-Holland Unit); the Italian Republic; and the Czech Republic, Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office, Czech Police.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Friday, December 13, 2019

13-Year-Old Florida Girl Sold To More Than 100 Men For Sex In Less Than A Month In Trafficking Operation

The teen reportedly was sold for sex so many times, the traffickers nicknamed her "breadmaker," the court document stated.

With more parents and young adults being increasingly vigilant about sex trafficking, one Florida teenager’s story reinforces the perils of the predatory act.

The teenager said she ran away from home and was subsequently recruited by sex traffickers, including women police later identified as Souprina Blanc and 19-year-old Racquel Bijou. According to the criminal complaint filed by the girl, both Blanc and Bijou insisted that she have sex in exchange for money with several older men, some reportedly at least 50 years old.

Despite the girl reportedly telling Bijou that she was underage, she was instructed to tell everyone she was 21.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that the document also detailed an instance where Bijou allegedly told the girl to take photos of herself which were later sent to 22-year-old Jeremiah Horenstein and 25-year-old Ashton Lewinson. The two men reportedly posted photos of the girl to a backpage website, advertising sex work. Following the ad being posted, the girl was instructed to sleep with more than 100 men.

According to the document, she was sold for sex so much that her traffickers dubbed her “breadmaker.”

After disappearing, the teen contacted a family member via text, telling them that she had sex with “so many people.” Frightened about the girl’s safety, the family member provided authorities with the teen’s phone records.

Investigators in Miami-Dade County and the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force were able to plan a sting operation on June 11, during which the girl was recovered and Blanc was arrested.

According to court documents, officers found an unidentified female naked in the bedroom and a naked man hiding in the shower during the sting.

Bijou, Horenstein and Lewinson were subsequently arrested in August and November.  All four suspects are charged with sex trafficking a minor and are being held without bond. Bijou pleaded guilty on November 19. If convicted, the defendants could face a maximum of life in prison.

In recent months, there's been heightened awareness around human trafficking.

In February, an Atlanta-area sex-trafficking sting led to the arrests of 169 people around the time of Super Bowl LIII. Nine children were rescued during the operation reports 11Alive. Additionally, individual stories of sex traffickers and their victims have become increasingly repeated occurrences in news cycles.

On Thursday, a North Carolina man was sentenced to prison for sex trafficking a minor in Miami, CBS Miami reports. She eventually escaped him. Earlier this year, after a New Jersey teen was missing, her photos later appeared on sex trafficking websites. She was later found safe in Philadelphia as Blavity previously reported.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline can be reached at 1-888-373-7888.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Senate Committee Passes Bill on Teaching Human Trafficking

Tallahassee, Florida — Children in Florida public schools would be taught about the dangers and warning signs of human trafficking under a bill approved by a Senate committee.

The Senate Education Committee unanimously passed the bill on Tuesday. The curriculum would be part of public schools’ health education and would focus on how to recognize and understand human trafficking.

The curriculum would teach children who are victims of human trafficking about how they can get help. It would also teach children about inappropriate behavior that should be reported.

The House passed a similar bill earlier this year, but it died in the Senate.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888 to speak with a specially trained Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocate. Support is provided in more than 200 languages. We are here to listen and connect you with the help you need to stay safe.
Callers can dial 711 to access the Hotline using TTY.
You can also email us at

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Serial Sex Offender Sentenced in Alaska and Florida to Serve a Total of 43 Years in Federal Prison:

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced the sentencing of a Maryland registered sex-offender charged in Alaska federal court for attempted production of child pornography involving a minor victim in Anchorage.

William Patrick King, 37, was indicted in Alaska on July 19, 2017, and arraigned on Nov. 14, 2018. After being charged in Alaska, King was prosecuted in the Middle District of Florida for substantially similar conduct and sentenced to serve 35 years in federal prison. Today, King was sentenced in Alaska to serve 35 years, with 8 years to run consecutive to his Florida sentence followed by lifetime supervised release. To protect the public from King, he will serve a total of 43 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime supervised release.

In May 2017, the 15-year-old victim notified Anchorage Police Department (“APD”) School Resource Officers (“SROs”) of being harassed and extorted by King. Records explain that King targeted the minor victim through the use of social media applications, attempted to extort and threaten the victim to self-produce images and videos depicting child pornography. King went so far as to photoshop images in an attempt to blackmail the victim into self-producing child exploitation images. King also created false online personas to persuade the victim to refrain from reporting his conduct to law enforcement.

The victim exhibited admirable poise under the circumstances and promptly reported King’s threats to her Anchorage Police Department School Resource Officers. During sentencing, U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason commended the victim for her courage and maturity. Anchorage Police Department was also praised for their work in the investigation of this case.

U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder stated, "A survivor's report of sexual exploitation to law enforcement is an act of bravery that greatly assists efforts to identify and prosecute dangerous offenders."

The Anchorage Police Department (“APD”) with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) Child Exploitation Task Force conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Alexander.

Project Safe Childhood
Public Affairs (907) 271-5022
Press Release Number: 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Pasco Sheriff Warns About 15 Apps

FOX 35 Orlando

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - "Keep an eye on your children's social media platforms."

That's the warning for parents from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office after a 22-year-old man was arrested for allegedly raping a 10-year-old child he met through Snapchat.

According to the sheriff's office, Austin Altman drove to Hernando County to pick up the girl and then drove her back to his residence, where they said he raped her. The victim reportedly told Altman to stop at least four times.

The crime prompted the sheriff's office to release a list of apps that they said predators use to target kids.

"Over the weekend a 22 year old man was arrested for enticing a 10 year old girl out of her house and brought her back to Pasco County. Here are a list of apps all parents should be aware of."

The apps that deputies say parents need to monitor include:

Snapchat: It's one of the most popular apps of 2018. While the app promises users can send a photo or video and it will disappear, recent features allow users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.

Bumble: It's similar to the popular dating app, Tinder, however, it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.

Kik: This app allows anyone to contact and direct message your child, sometimes anonymously. Kids sometimes use Kik to bypass traditional text messaging features. Kik gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Calculator%: This is one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files, and browser history.

Hot or Not: This app encourages users to rate other users' profiles, with the focus on physical appearance. It also allows users to check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The sheriff says the goal of this app is to "hook up."

Tiktok: It's a new app popular with kids that's used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable ot cyber bullying and explicit content.

Whatsapp: This is a popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails, as well as make calls and video chats.

Grindr: This dating app is geared toward gay, bi and transgender people. It gives users options to chat, share photos and meet up based on a smart phone's GPS.

Skout: It's a location-based dating app. While users under 17 years old are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account with an older age.

Meetme: It's a dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. The app's users are encouraged to meet each other in person.
LiveMe: This live-streaming video app uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster's exact location. Users can earn coins within the app and use them as a way to pay minors for photos.

Holla: The app's makers admit it's an "addicting" video chat app. It allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content, and more.

Whisper: This is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user's location so people can meet up.

Badoo: This is a dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos based on location. The app is intended for adults only, but teens are known to create profiles. This app has become known for cyberbullying. The app encourages users to allow people to anonymously ask them questions.

Last month, the Sarasota Sheriff's Office released a list of 21 apps to watch out for after 23 suspected child predators were arrested during "Operation Intercept VII."

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

More Than 80 Arrested In Human Trafficking Sting

 - Hillsborough County deputies rounded up dozens of men and women suspected of sex-related crimes as part of a six-month operation targeting human traffickers.

During a news conference Monday, Sheriff Chad Chronister said Operation Trade Secrets landed 85 in jail.

"The efforts behind Operation Trade Secrets will have no ending until human trafficking is stopped," the sheriff said. "Whether you live here, are vacationing or visiting for any of our large upcoming sporting events like Wrestlemania or Super Bowl LV, there is zero tolerance for this type of predatory behavior. Our message for anyone involved with the despicable practice of human trafficking: stop because we're coming for you."
Chronister said the suspects face a range of charges including prostitution, sex trade, drugs, weapons and child pornography.
Marcell Walsh, 40, is the only person facing a human trafficking charge after, according to deputies, a woman told deputies Walsh was forcing her into prostitution.
Chronister believes there may be many more similar cases.
"Do I think that more than one person that was being trafficked for sex? Absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt," he said. "The only way to get the victims of human trafficking are to do an operation like this because you don't know who's there on their own free will and accord and who's being forced to have sex."
The arrests took place at hotels, motels, spa and massage businesses, strip clubs, and adult book stores throughout the county.
Chronister urges victims of human trafficking and anyone who knows victims to call the Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST, or visit CYBERTIPLINE.ORG.