Six N.C. Residents Arrested In Internet Child Pornography Ring
Posted August 9, 2001 12:46 p.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Operation Avalanche, an undercover sting investigation into the largest known commercial child pornography business ever uncovered, helped to nab six people in North Carolina.
North Carolina is one of 30 states with an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that partnered with federal agents targeting child sexual predators. The partnership began after authorities busted a Texas-based child pornography company called Landslide Productions and seized its equipment.
The information from the company's computer database linked undercover agents to suspected child sexual predators living in North Carolina.
Those arrested in the undercover sting operation include: James Mitchell Phillips of Apex, Gregory Dean Cary of Rocky Mount, Larry Vincze of Fayetteville and Steven Dixon Prentice of Cedar Grove.
The arrest of Prentice led investigators to the discovery of three female child victims ranging in age from 4 years old to 15 years old. He pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to more than 15 years in jail.
Federal agents say Operation Avalanche has given them a lead on as many as 800 suspected child sexual predators in the state.