Multiple task forces recovered eight missing and endangered children and arrested 18 sex offenders in Louisiana as part of a two-month investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service announced Tuesday.
Operations Return of the School Year and NO Saints and Sinners 2021 ran in the New Orleans area from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30 as part of two U.S. marshals task forces, according to a news release. They also uncovered multiple sex offenders with prior convictions involving children, the statement says.
"This was another example of the results that can be accomplished with continuing law enforcement teamwork," said Scott Illing, U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana. "Much of this work was also accomplished while dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in the New Orleans metro area."
According to the Marshals Service, the operations also led to the arrests of six others, including three adult males with warrants for sexual battery on a 7-year-old, two counts of production of child porn on a 14-year-old girl, and aggravated rape and kidnapping charges that occurred in 1989.
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A lifetime registered sex offender from Delaware, Roman E. Byler, had two prior felony sex-based convictions with juveniles, according to the news release. Byler, who was wanted for cutting off his electronic monitor and fleeing his probation in Delaware, was found in August, living unregistered in New Orleans in a high drug-trafficking area.
Three children returned themselves during the operation, and the Marshals Service found three others, according to the news release. The investigations led to one recovery in Phoenix, where a teenage girl was on the way to to Las Vegas to meet up with an older man she had met on the internet.
The two-month operation uncovered several allegations of sex trafficking of minors. Three police departments in the New Orleans metro area, three sheriff's offices across the state, the state police and the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Service assisted the FBI and Marshals Service in the investigations.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sex offenders arrested and missing children recovered in New Orleans