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Logan County man's arrest was part of national Homeland Security child porn sweep

A Quincy man’s November arrest was part of a national child pornography sweep called “Operation Sunflower” by federal officials who took a total of 245 people into custody, according to a release issued Thursday from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Peakofohio.com reported in November that Mickell E. Close, 31, of Quincy, was arrested by federal officials on felony sex charges at his home.

Close allegedly took pictures and video of three young girls and distributed them on the Internet.

His charges were:

- Used, persuaded, induced, enticed or coerced three or more minor children to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and such visual depiction was produced using materials that traveled in interstate or foreign commerce; or such visual depictions were transmitted by means of a facility of interstate commerce, that is by computer and/or the internet.

- Received, distributed and/or possessed child pornography obtained through interstate commerce, including by computer or the internet.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Office assisted Homeland Security with the arrest.

Close was initially transported and lodged in the Franklin County Jail.

In 2000, Close was convicted of gross sexual imposition with a three-year-old girl. He was labeled a sexual predator.

More than 120 children were identified and rescued from sexual exploitation through Operation Sunflower, which was launched starting in November and ran through the first week of December.

ICE is the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

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