Two from Kearny (including 17-year-old boy) among 16 nabbed in porn bust

TRENTON

Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy today announced that 16 defendants have been arrested in “Operation Safeguard,” a joint operation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations that targeted offenders who used an online file-sharing network to download and distribute child pornography, including videos of young children being raped.

Lougy announced the results of the joint state and federal operation at the State Police Technology Complex in Hamilton with Director Elie Honig of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and Resident Agent in Charge Richard Reinhold of the Cherry Hill Office of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The New Jersey State Police assisted with the investigation, and numerous local police departments and county prosecutors’ offices assisted with the arrests.

All 16 defendants were charged with second-degree distribution of child pornography, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, and third-degree possession of child pornography, which carries a sentence of three to five years in prison. The arrests, made between Feb. 10 and March 31, include the following local cases:

  • A factory worker from Kearny, Andres Tejada-Diaz, allegedly had 168 files of suspected child pornography in a shared folder on his computer. Investigators found a locked suitcase filled with sex toys and underwear for little girls when they executed a search warrant at his home.
  • A 17-year-old high school student from Hudson County (Kearny) allegedly had 122 files of suspected child pornography in a shared folder on his computer. The juvenile allegedly sold child pornography to people whom he met online in exchange for Amazon gift cards.

“These defendants come from all walks of life, but they allegedly share a depraved desire to see children being raped and sexually exploited,” Lougy said. “By viewing and distributing child pornography, particularly the child rape videos targeted in this operation, these offenders directly motivate and put themselves in league with the predators who torture children to create these repulsive materials. Through sweeps like Operation Safeguard, we send a powerful message that these are very serious crimes and we are determined to put those who commit them behind bars.”

“By sharing and recirculating videos of child pornography, these offenders perpetually re-victimize the innocent children who are sexually assaulted to produce them,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “With these operations, we’re putting child pornography users on notice that we have infiltrated their file-sharing networks and chat rooms, and we will trace these crimes right to their doors.”

“Distribution of child pornography steals the innocence of children and destroys lives,” said Terence S. Opiola, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Newark. “HSI special agents will continue to work tirelessly with our state and local partners in operations like this one to track down the perpetrators of these terrible crimes and ensure that they face prosecution.”

The 16 defendants range in age from 17 to 72. All of them are charged under New Jersey’s strict 2013 child pornography law, which enhanced the penalties for those who possess, distribute or manufacture child pornography.

If convicted of distributing 25 or more computer files of child pornography – which includes simply having that number of files in a shared folder on their computers, available for other users to download – the defendants will face a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of five years without possibility of parole.

Any defendant found to have possessed 100 or more files of child pornography on his computer will face a presumptive sentence of three to five years in state prison.

During Operation Safeguard, special agents of HSI and detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice and New Jersey State Police monitored several online file-sharing networks that are popular with offenders who download and trade child pornography. Using advanced technology, the investigators searched for telltale digital “fingerprints” of known child pornography, as well as search terms used by those who download and share child pornography. Through these and other methods, they identified New Jersey residents who were downloading child pornography and making child pornography available to others in “shared folders” on their computers. The files included videos showing pre-pubescent boys and girls being raped or being coerced into performing sexual acts on themselves or others. The file-sharing networks used by offenders to distribute child pornography operate in the same manner as websites used for privately sharing music or movies. Those in possession of the illegal images can make them available on computers that they control for others to download.

All 16 of the defendants are charged with distribution of child pornography for allegedly using Internet file-sharing software to make files containing child pornography readily available for others to download from a “shared folder” on their computers. Investigators allegedly downloaded files of child pornography from shared folders on the computers of each of the defendants during the investigation.

The Division of Criminal Justice obtained search warrants which they executed with HSI and the New Jersey State Police starting on Feb. 10. Many state, county and local law enforcement agencies assisted. The following is a full list of the defendants who were arrested. All are charged with both possession and distribution of child pornography. Where noted, they were charged and face enhanced penalties for possession of 100 or more files of child pornography and/or distribution of 25 or more files.

  • Thomas Guzzi Jr., 36, of Pitman. Teacher at John H. Winslow Elementary School in Vineland. Arrested Feb. 19. Bail, $50,000. Charged with possession of 100 or more files of child pornography.
  • Eugene Triston, 55, of Stanhope. Bus driver in Sparta School District. Arrested Feb. 10. Bail, $50,000. Charged with distribution of 25 or more files of child pornography.
  • Male Juvenile, 17, of Kearny. Arrested March 15. Released with ankle monitor. Charged with selling child pornography, possession of 100 or more files of child pornography, and distribution of 25 or more files of child pornography.
  • Shaun Dooley, 46, of Summit. Senior IT officer for insurance company. Arrested March 9. Bail, $75,000. Charged with possession of 100 or more files of child pornography.
  • Andres Tejada-Diaz, 42, of Kearny. Arrested March 3. Bail, $100,000. Charged with possession of 100 or more files of child pornography and distribution of 25 or more files.
  • John Wilms, 46, of Mount Holly. Driver for parcel delivery service. Arrested Feb. 25. Bail, $100,000. Charged with distributing 25 or more files of child pornography for files allegedly found in a shared folder on his computer, including many videos involving infants.
  • Robert Kunert, 22, of Hamilton, Mercer County. Supermarket employee. Arrested March 31. Bail, $52,000. He allegedly possessed approximately 298 files of child pornography in a shared folder on his computer. Charged with possession of 100 or more files of child pornography and distribution of 25 or more files of child pornography.
  • Matthew Dieterman, 32, of Piscataway. Public employee who works for Somerset County in county garage. Arrested March 4. Bail, $50,000. Charged with possession of 100 or more files of child pornography and distribution of 25 or more files of child pornography.
  • Oziel Hernandez Sandoval, 27, of Piscataway. Employment unknown. Arrested March 29. Bail, $75,000. A forensic preview revealed approximately 225 files of child pornography in a shared folder on his computer. Charged with possession of 100 or more files of child pornography and distribution of 25 or more files of child pornography.
  • Bernard Rapp, 72, of Southampton. Retired. Arrested Feb. 24. Bail, $75,000. Charged with possession of 100 or more files of child pornography.
  • Germin Simon, 34, of South Plainfield. Self-employed computer repair technician under name “The Computer Man.” Arrested March 17. Bail, $100,000.
  • William Morgan, 59, of Manalapan. Unemployed. Arrested March 24. Bail, $150,000.
  • Christian Martinez-Gonzalez, 34, of East Windsor. Factory worker. Arrested March 7. Bail, $50,000.
  • Brandon Weiss, 42, of Burlington Township. Line worker for label printing company. Arrested Feb. 23. Bail, $100,000.
  • Armando Gonzalez-Longorio, 70, of Elizabeth. Works for employment agency. Arrested Feb. 18. Bail, $100,000.
  • Dimas Zuniga, 44, of Roselle. Employment unknown. Arrested March 22. Bail, $50,000.

Operation Safeguard was conducted for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau by Detectives Tiffany Lenart, Abraham Aquino, Richard DaSilva, Laura Hurley, Kimberly Allen, Michael Arduini, Carlos Hernandez and John Neggia; Deputy Attorneys General Jillian Carpenter, Lilianne Daniel, Denise Grugan, Marie McGovern, John Nicodemo and Anand Shah; and Executive Assistant Francine Venceller. They were supervised by Bureau Chief Michael Monahan, Deputy Bureau Chief Veronica Allende, Deputy Chief of Detectives William Fredrick, Lt. Lisa Shea and Sgt. Jon Powers. Special agents for the ICE Homeland Security Investigations Cherry Hill and Newark Offices conducted Operation Safeguard under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent John Fitch, Supervisory Special Agent Victoria Becchina, and Special Agent in Charge Terence Opiola of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Newark. Operation Safeguard was conducted for the State Police by Detective Christopher Camm, Detective Brett Munch and other members of the Digital Technology Investigations Unit and Red Lion Station.

The agencies that participated in Operation Safeguard with the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the Cherry Hill and Newark Offices of ICE Homeland Security Investigations include:

New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit
New Jersey State Police Red Lion Station
New Jersey Department of Children and Families
Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office
Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office
Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office
Warren County Prosecutor’s Office
Belleville Police Department
Burlington Township Police Department
Byram Township Police Department
East Windsor Police Department
Elizabeth Police Department
Hamilton Police Department (Mercer County)
Kearny Police Department
Manalapan Township Police Department
Mount Holly Police Department
Piscataway Police Department
Pitman Police Department
Roselle Police Department
South Plainfield Police Department
Summit Police Department

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The charges are indictable offenses, so they will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.

The Observer Staff