U.S. Department of Justice|
Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California
United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2005
For Information, Contact Public Affairs|
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947
Los Angeles, CA - Law enforcement officials today announced charges against 28 Southland defendants who are accused of possessing and distributing child pornography. Federal officials this morning arrested five of the defendants, and nine of the defendants have agreed to plead guilty.
The cases announced today are the result of independent investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Secret Service and the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The Huntington Beach Police Department provided substantial assistance by performing computer forensic work on many of the cases. Also participating in the investigations were the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the Brea Police Department, the Newport Beach Police Department, the Irvine Police Department, the Anaheim Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, the Cypress Police Department, the Indio Police Department and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
The 28 cases announced today are in addition to 99 child exploitation cases that have been filed by the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California over the past 30 months.
"This aggressive sweep of child pornographers will bring some justice to the numerous and unfortunate children who have been exploited for sexual purposes," said United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang. "These cases should send a strong message that law enforcement will act to protect our children, who are the future of our society."
All of the cases involve at least one of two federal charges. The charge of possession of child pornography carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for each count. The charge of distribution or receipt of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years.
This morning, federal prosecutors filed criminal informations against nine defendants. All nine have agreed to plead guilty to one count of possessing child pornography in plea agreements that were filed this morning in United States District Court in Los Angeles and Santa Ana. Those who have agreed to plead guilty are: Brian Davis, 38, of Capistrano Beach, who possessed printed images of child pornography in his briefcase when approached by law enforcement officers;
- Kiem Flint, 27, of Fountain Valley, who possessed more than 600 images of child pornography and was allegedly a member of a website that distributed child pornography;
- Jesus Rojero Gurrola, 39, of Stevenson Ranch, who used the Limewire peer-2-peer file-sharing program to download more than 10,000 images of child pornography;
- Paul Laursen, 70, of Yorba Linda, who possessed more than 600 images of child pornography, which he downloaded using the Limewire peer-2-peer file-sharing program;
- Emerson Mangabat, 33, of Ladera Ranch, who, while working for Sprint, Inc., downloaded from the Internet and possessed numerous images of child pornography;
- Daniel Lee Parsons, 35, of Mission Viejo, who possessed on his computer numerous images and movies of child pornography, including one that depicted sadism;
- Brian Ernest Sanders, 27, of Garden Grove, who traded child pornography by e-mail;
- Jeffrey Szweistis, 45, of Rancho Santa Margarita, who ordered a videotape of child pornography from an undercover officer on the Internet; and
- Brian Triggs, 48, of Anaheim, who was a member of a website that distributed child pornography and who possessed more than 300 images of child pornography.
These nine defendants are expected to make their initial court appearances in the coming weeks.
Over the past week, federal grand juries in Santa Ana and Los Angeles have returned indictments against 19 defendants. Those named in the indictments are:
- Richard Don Beeman, 50, of Anaheim, who is charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. Beeman allegedly brought his computer into a repair facility for service. A technician turned over the computer to law enforcement when he suspected it contained child pornography. A search of the computer allegedly revealed more than 1,500 images of child pornography. In addition, a search of Beeman's residence allegedly revealed additional child pornography that had been saved onto CDs.
- Darren William Bell, 36, of Anaheim, who is charged with possession of child pornography. In response to a loud music call, law enforcement officers allegedly found over 5,000 images of child pornography in Bell's residence, including dozens of printed images in cardboard boxes.
- John Breault, 42, of Newport Beach, who is charged with possession of child pornography. The investigation into Breault began when the Newport Beach Police Department received information that he was videotaping children on the playground of a local elementary school. A search of Breault's home revealed additional videotapes allegedly containing footage of young children, and his computer allegedly contained over 500 images of child pornography.
- Andrew David Caballero, 47, of Cypress, who is charged with possession of child pornography. Caballero is currently in state custody facing misdemeanor charges in state court for allegedly videotaping women in the shower without their consent. As part of that investigation, law enforcement authorities seized dozens of videotapes and CDs that allegedly contain child pornography.
- Michael Drake, 40, of Orange, who is charged with distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Drake allegedly corresponded by e-mail and distributed child pornography to an individual in Florida. A search of Drake's computer allegedly revealed numerous images of child pornography.
- Fernando Esparza, 47, of Chino, who is charged with distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Esparza allegedly distributed 16 images of child pornography to a Yahoo! e-group. Esparza allegedly possessed over 1,000 images of child pornography saved onto CD-ROMs.
- Theodore Richard Hutt, 66, of Orange, who is charged with possession of child pornography. Hutt allegedly was trading child pornography through the Internet by using a Yahoo! e-group. Hutt allegedly possessed over 800 images of child pornography on his home computer.
- Mitchell Scott Jacky, 41, of Huntington Beach, who is charged with possession of child pornography. Jacky allegedly distributed images of child pornography to a Yahoo! e-group. A search of his home computer allegedly revealed numerous child pornography images.
- Paul McCartney, 35, of Garden Grove, who is charged with possession of child pornography. McCartney allegedly downloaded over 1,000 images and 100 movies of child pornography by using the Fast Track peer-2-peer file-sharing program.
- Billy Joe McDonald, 25, of Lake Forest and Fremont, Nebraska, who is charged with possession of child pornography. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at McDonald's residence and allegedly found numerous movies and images of child pornography that McDonald allegedly downloaded using the Kazaa peer-2-peer file-sharing program. In addition, law enforcement officers found videotapes of McDonald allegedly having sex with a minor. McDonald is currently serving a 7- to 14-year prison sentence for first-degree sexual assault of a minor in Nebraska.
- Christopher Lee McFarland, 56, of Irvine, who is charged with possession of child pornography. McFarland was allegedly a member of a Yahoo! e-group that traded child pornography. A search of his home computer allegedly revealed over 4,000 images of child pornography and numerous movies of child pornography.
- Mario Mauricio Melgar, 42, of Newbury Park, who is charged with receiving child pornography and possession of child pornography. Melgar allegedly downloaded approximately 5,000 images of child pornography from the Internet, including numerous videos of child pornography. Melgar was a boys' soccer coach in Conejo Valley.
- William Meusch, 57, of Long Beach, who is charged with possession of child pornography. Meusch allegedly distributed and received child pornography using the Limewire peer-2-peer file-sharing program. A search warrant executed by the FBI on his home computer allegedly revealed approximately 4,500 images of child pornography.
- Maxob Anthony Regonas Mira, 28, of Fresno, who is charged with attempted possession of child pornography. Mira allegedly ordered various videos of child pornography from an undercover officer.
- Ismael Vela Pinedo, 36, of Indio, who is charged with possession of child pornography. Pinedo allegedly possessed over 1,000 images of child pornography as a result of using the Kazaa peer-2-peer file-sharing program. Pinedo worked as a security guard at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Indio.
- Kenneth Lee Rankin, 53, of Victorville, is charged with possession of child pornography. Rankin allegedly had approximately 17,000 images of child pornography and child erotica on his home computer. Rankin allegedly received and distributed child pornography through the Internet by Yahoo! e-groups. Rankin was employed as a school bus driver in Lucerne Valley.
- Mario Ralph Riley, 49, of Costa Mesa, is charged with possession of child pornography. Riley allegedly ordered two videotapes and one compact disc of child pornography from an undercover officer on the Internet. John Scobey, 40, of Garden Grove, is charged with distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Scobey allegedly distributed and downloaded child pornography by using Yahoo! e-groups on the internet. Scobey allegedly possessed over 200 images of child pornography.
- Richard Vince, 52, of Anaheim, is charged with possession of child pornography. Norwegian and Danish law enforcement began an investigation, later taken over by United States authorities, that resulted in the indictment of Vince, who allegedly possessed more than 50 movies depicting child pornography that he received from the Kazaa peer-2-peer file-sharing program.
Federal authorities this morning arrested defendants Drake, Esparza, Meusch, Rankin and Melgar. Drake is expected to make his initial court appearances this afternoon in federal court in Santa Ana, and the other four taken into custody are scheduled to appear in federal court in Los Angeles. The remaining 14 defendants who were indicted will be summoned to appear for arraignments over the next several months.
"Law enforcement has few more crucial duties than to protect our children from sexual exploitation and abuse," said California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. "We have to move swiftly and aggressively to put child pornographers behind bars so they don't inflict further harm on our kids. That is what this case is about."
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
In addition to the cases described above, there have been developments in several other child exploitation cases in recent weeks. Those developments are:
- Jason Paul Hemenway, 32, of Blue Jay, was sentenced on July 6 to 78 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography. Hemenway was sentenced by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips in Riverside following an investigation that discovered thousands of images of child pornography on his computer. Hemenway was a youth camp counselor at the Alpine Camp and Conference Center, in Blue Jay, and he was recently convicted in state court of molesting at least four young boys entrusted to his care.
- Robert Craig Pugh, 52, of Rancho Cucamonga, was ordered held without bond on July 7, after being arrested in May on charges of possession of child pornography. Pugh initially was identified by FBI and ICE in separate investigations as an individual who allegedly purchased subscriptions to Internet sites offering child pornography. Court documents filed in relation to the child pornography case state that Pugh admitted to investigators that he repeatedly molested an 11-year-old girl in Georgia.
- James Sanders, 60, of Joshua Tree, was remanded into custody on June 30 and was ordered by a federal magistrate judge in New Mexico to be transported to Los Angeles to face charges of possession of child pornography. Sanders was taken into federal custody after being released from prison in New Mexico, where he served a three-year term for child molestation. Sanders was previously employed at a youth camp near Joshua Tree National Park when ICE discovered him in an Internet chat room, allegedly discussing his sexual interest in young boys.
Release No. 05-101
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