8 Los Angeles-Area Men Arrested In Federal Sweep Of Suspected Child Pornographers

SANTA ANA (CBS) — A Santa Ana man was among eight Los Angeles-area men arrested in federal sweep of suspects involved in child pornography.

Federal officials say Theodore Perez, 29, was arrested by Homeland Security Investigations special agents on May 1 as he arrived at South Coast Plaza to meet a 12-year-old girl he met on Facebook. Agents assumed the girl’s identity and exchanged text messages and telephone conversations with Perez, who allegedly indicated he wanted to commit multiple lewd acts with the child.

Perez was charged in state court with enticing a minor to commit lewd acts and is being held on $100,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on July 27.

Perez is among 190 people arrested during May as part of Operation Orion, targeting suspects involved in possessing, receiving, transporting, distributing and producing child pornography.

The majority of the arrests during the operation were made in the United States, but suspects were also detained in Spain, the Philippines, Argentina and the United Kingdom. Officials say the enforcement effort also led to the identification and rescue of 18 child victims.

Children typically have more time and access to the Internet during the summer months.

“Many of the child exploitation cases under Operation Orion began with a child or teen chatting with someone he or she met online,” ICE Director John Morton said, adding that summer is a good time to talk to children about online dangers.

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