Williamson Co. – Eight men were federally indicted Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Benton after attempting to solicit children under the age of 18. U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft announced Tuesday that the cases are part of “Operation Independence Day,” a nationwide initiative to combat child sex trafficking. Each of the eight men were separately charged with attempting to entice a minor to engage in illicit sexual acts. Locally, three were from Herrin, one was from Sesser, another was from Mt. Vernon and one was from Marion. You can see the complete list of who was indicted with this story on our website’s news page. The men were all charged from July 19-21 in connection with an online, undercover investigation. No actual minors were harmed. Each of the offenses is alleged to have occurred in Williamson County, Illinois. If convicted, the defendants each face a minimum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and could receive as much as life behind bars. The offense also carries a possible lifetime term of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Pending trial, all eight men will be held without bond or released on electronic monitoring and other strict conditions mandated by the Adam Walsh Act.