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8 SoCal Men Arrested In Federal Child Porn Sweep

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — Eight Southern California men were arrested Friday during a federal law enforcement sweep targeting alleged users and distributors of child pornography.

The suspects were identified as David Christopher Jelaca, 37, of La Quinta; Ronald Lewis Sousa, 67, of Cathedral City; Alexander Scott, 25, of Upland; Boliver Arnoldo Guillen, 59, of Rancho Cucamonga; Ronald Jaenson, 66, of Colton; Michael Peterson, 58, of Ontario; John Anthony Serrano, 37, of Barstow; and Anthony Starkweather, 20, of Mentone.

Jelaca, and Sousa both arrested Friday, are each federally charged based on investigations by the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Jelaca, a registered nurse, is charged with distribution of child porn, attempted distribution of child porn to a minor, possession of child porn and enticement of a minor for illegal sexual purposes.

He was slated to appear in federal court Friday afternoon, along with Sousa, who’s charged with both possession and distribution of child porn.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jelaca came to the attention of federal investigators earlier this year when he allegedly posted an advertisement on Craigslist seeking to make contact with a “Dirty Daddy who likes to share his daughter’s dirty panties.”

Undercover agents from the Imperial Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began communicating with Jelaca via email, posing as respondents to his ad, according to federal prosecutors.

“Jelaca acknowledged having had sexual intercourse with girls as young as 15 and fantasizing about sexual relations with girls as young as 12,” said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek.

Agents searched the defendant’s home, seizing more than 26,000 still images and 55 movie files allegedly containing child porn, Mrozek said.

According to the indictment against Sousa, federal investigators discovered child porn on his home computer.

How he was identified as a suspect was not immediately clear.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Peterson’s alleged collection of child porn included more than 500,000 photos and 7,500 videos.

The defendant came under scrutiny during the summer after federal agents uncovered a file-sharing network that involved trading kiddy porn.

“Every time these illegal images are produced, transmitted or viewed, a child is victimized,” said Debra Parker, assistant special agent in charge of ICE’s Inland Empire investigations section. “We owe it to the young victims in these cases to pursue the offenders aggressively, since many of the children who are sexually exploited by those who produce child pornography will bear the emotional scars for the rest of their lives.”

The first man nabbed in the federal sweep was 26-year-old Hemet resident Enrique Garcia, who was taken into custody Wednesday after being indicted for alleged possession and distribution of child porn.

Garcia was freed on bond and is slated to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Dec. 5.

According to federal prosecutors, if convicted, the defendants could face anywhere from five to 30 years behind bars, depending on the number of counts.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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