Special Report

20 Biggest Crime Stories of the Year

Source: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Largest darknet child pornography website takedown
> Date: Oct. 16

More than 330 people were arrested in mid-October following an international takedown of one of the world’s largest child pornography websites, and reportedly the first one to accept bitcoin in exchange for content. Federal officials seized over 8 terabytes of child pornography, equal to about 10,000 full CD-ROMs. The operation reportedly saved nearly two dozen children worldwide from abusive situations. Arrests connected with the takedown spanned 23 states and Washington D.C. as well as 11 countries.

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Saugus High School shooting
> Date: Nov. 14

Sixteen-year-old Nathaniel Berhow came to Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, the morning of Thursday, Nov. 14 and pulled out a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol. Berhow killed two of his classmates and injured three others before turning the gun on himself. He died from the self-inflicted wound the following day. The mass shooting is one of hundreds that were carried out in 2019.

Source: Handout

Former CIA agent sentenced to 19 years for China espionage
> Date: Nov. 22

Last year, former CIA agent Jerry Chun Shing Lee was charged with conspiracy to spy on behalf of the Chinese government. Lee is believed to have received $840,000 from Chinese intelligence officials, and while Lee admitted to conspiring, he maintains that he never actually revealed any secrets. In November 2019, Lee was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
Source: John Moore / Getty Images

Probe opened on opioid makers
> Date: Nov. 26

Six pharmaceutical companies are under federal investigation and face potential criminal charges for their role in the opioid crisis. Federal prosecutors are working to determine what, if any, laws were broken in connection with shipments of mass quantities of opioid painkillers.

The companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Mallinckrodt, Johnson & Johnson, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, and distributor McKesson Corp. One company, Ohio-based Miami-Luken Inc, shipped 3.7 million hydrocodone pills between 2008 and 2011 to a pharmacy in a small West Virginia town of only about 400 people.

According to the most recent data for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, more than two-thirds involved an opioid. Such drug-related deaths were six times more common in 2017 than in 1999, according to the CDC.

Source: Josh Brasted / Getty Images

Pensacola Navy base shooting
> Date: Dec. 6

In early December 2019, Second Lieutenant Mohammad Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola with a legally purchased 9 mm handgun, killing three and injuring eight others. The FBI dispatched 80 agents to investigate the shooting and released a statement saying investigators were treating it as an act of terrorism. Through a series of tweets posted before the killing, the shooter reportedly quoted Osama bin Laden and called the United States evil.