Law enforcement agents crack criminal activity quietly at South Carolina's new cyber-crime center.
Fraud, child porn and counterfeiting all meet their match when investigators fire up their no-nonsense, state-of-the-art computer towers.
SLED Lieutenant Chip Johnson says the lab is a rarity, one of only a few nationwide that allows federal, state and local cops to track down and analyze evidence of electronic crimes, "What is alleviated is a chief or sheriff no longer has to ask themselves, 'Well is this a case that the FBI has jurisdiction or the Secret Service has jurisdiction or SLED would investigate.' Now it's a one-stop shop in the state."
The computer crime center has been in operation almost three months now. The start-up was paid for with more than $5.5 million in federal funding.
Lt. Johnson says the center has been an effective weapon against identity theft, "In our state this is probably the quickest rising crime that we're seeing coming in and we're dealing with. Second only to child exploitation."
SLED is also promising closer ties with the State Consumer Affairs Department. Johnson says it's a tougher approach to on-line fraud, "The internet does not just exist in South Carolina. It is truly global and it provides such an anonymity for someone to get on it and commit these type of heinous crimes, that it takes the cooperation among law enforcement."
The computer crime center is also set up to investigate terrorism. Johnson says that is one aspect of operations he cannot discuss.