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WASHINGTON, D.C. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and Chief Postal Inspector Kenneth C. Weaver today announced the successful conclusion of Operation Avalanche, an undercover operation focusing on eliminating child pornography through the mail and via the Internet. Operation Avalanche is a nationally coordinated, proactive undercover operation conducted in partnership with 30 federally funded Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces.

"Operation Avalanche exemplifies the success of our combined efforts in order to protect our nation's most precious resource --our children," said Ashcroft. "The ICAC task force program is a great example of federal, state and local agencies working cooperatively to investigate, prosecute and prevent child sexual exploitation."

"Members of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces and U.S. Postal Inspectors have conducted 144 searches in 37 states with 100 arrests to date for trafficking child pornography through the mail and via the Internet," Weaver said.

The Operations's success results from the combined efforts of local, state and federal agencies. As directed by Congress in 1998, the Department of Justice established state and local cyber units to investigate child sexual exploitation. Supported by funding from the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ICAC Program, the Dallas Police Department acquired equipment and contracted for software and program development services to implement Operation Avalanche with the Postal Inspection Service.

This week marks the end of a two-year investigation that dismantled the largest known commercial child pornography enterprise ever uncovered in U.S. history. Thomas and Janice Reedy owned and operated Landslide Productions Inc., in Ft. Worth, TX. Landslide originally dealt with the sale of adult Web sites. However, as the business grew, most of the profits came from child pornography Web sites. In just one month, the business grossed as much as $1.4 million.

Federal search warrants executed on the Reedy's business and home on September 8, 1999, ended their child pornography enterprise. In April 2000, an 89-count federal indictment was returned against the Reedys and Landslide Productions. The Reedys and Landslide Productions were convicted as charged in a federal trial on December 1, 2000. On August 6, 2001, Thomas Reedy was sentenced to life in prison, and Janice Reedy was sentenced to fourteen years.

As of July 2001, 30 regional task forces and 28 satellites, involving more than 140 law enforcement agencies in 35 states, are participating in the ICAC Task Force Program. These task forces and satellites provide forensic, prevention, and investigative assistance to parents, law enforcement, prosecutors, educators, and other professionals working on child victimization issues.