TRENTON (CBSNewYork) - An undercover operation has resulted in the arrests of 14 men accused of possessing and distributing child pornography on the Internet.
The arrests were part of "Operation Predator Alert," the first sweep of its kind under New Jersey's tough new child pornography law. That law, signed back in August, mandates sentences of five years in prison for anyone convicted of distributing 25 or more child pornography files.
The arrests went down from Sept. 30 to Oct. 24, authorities said.
"Armed with New Jersey's tough new child pornography law, we are coming down hard on offenders who, by sharing these vile materials, support and encourage the sexual predators who rape and abuse children to create them," said Acting Attorney General John Hoffman. "The claim that viewing child pornography online is a victimless crime is yet another affront to the victims whose images and cries can never be erased from the Internet. Each time we identify a viewer who has re-victimized children by taking perverse pleasure in their agony, we will seek justice for that crime."
"By subjecting offenders to parole supervision for life under Megan's Law, our new child pornography law recognizes that those who get sexual gratification from these abhorrent images pose a real danger to children," said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. "Operation Predator Alert is aptly named because we are sounding the alarm about deviants who troll the Internet for images of children being raped and tortured."
"Child predators rob children of their youth and innocence. One child victimized by a pedophile is one too many," said Andrew M. McLees, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Newark. "This joint effort with the New Jersey Attorney General's Division of Criminal Justice is a clear indication of HSI's resolve to seek out those who sexually exploit innocent children."
The operation launched in June when agents began monitoring a file-sharing network popular with those who swap child pornography, authorities said.
Authorities said the following people had been arrested:
- Huahao "Howard" Chang, 30, of Somerset. Arrest, Sept. 30. Bail, $75,000.
- Jeffrey M. Mander, 25, of Bridgeton. Arrest, Oct. 1. Bail, $50,000.
- Juan C. Alvarez, 33, of Egg Harbor. Arrest, Oct. 2. Bail, $100,000.
- Mark V. Miller, 66, of Millville. Arrest, Oct. 3. Released without bail.
- Cristian Gonazalez-Araya, 33, of Trenton. Arrest, Oct. 7. Bail, $100,000.
- Juan S. Montoya, 24, of Pennsauken. Arrest, Oct. 8. Bail, $100,000.
- Mitchell Beard, 32, of Lower Township. Arrest, Oct. 9. Bail, $75,000.
- Jackson Beard, 32, of Lower Township. Arrest, Oct. 9. Bail, $75,000.
- James Hooker, 66, Eastampton. Arrest, Oct. 10. Bail, $75,000.
- Francis "Frank" P. Gillice, 63, of Cape May Court House. Arrest, Oct. 15. Bail, $75,000.
- Brian S. Bell, 40, of Woodstown. Arrest, Oct. 16. Bail, $40,000.
- Celalleti "Steve" Koc, 25, of Hamilton (Mercer County). Arrest, Oct. 17. Bail, $40,000.
- Cesar Urena-Valverde, 30, of Trenton. Arrest, Oct. 22. Bail, $100,000.
- Jason Block, 33, of Wrightstown. Arrest, Oct. 24. Bail, $100,000. Fugitive from Colorado.
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