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Authorities Arrest 10 Men in Countywide Child Pornography Search

More than 100 law enforcement officials participated in the countywide search.

Editor's Note: The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office released four of the 10 booking photos of the suspects, which were uploaded Saturday, March 24.

However, after further consideration, Patch editors have decided to remove the photos and the suspects' addresses to protect the privacy of the suspects' families.

Authorities have arrested 10 men in connection with a countywide child pornography investigation, police announced Thursday afternoon.

The 10 suspects were arrested Thursday following a sweep of suspected child pornography users and distributors in San Mateo County, according to police.

A cluster of suspected child pornography users detected in San Mateo County led the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to launch the sweep, which began early Thursday morning, police said.

Officers with warrants searched 11 homes in San Mateo County, and computers with pornographic images and other evidence allegedly linking the men to the distribution and or possession of child pornography were seized.

Nine felony arrests were made on men suspected of possessing and/or distributing child pornography, with additional investigations continuing from evidence seized.

Nine of the men were booked into San Mateo County jail on suspicion of felony charges related to child pornography, and another was arrested for an unrelated warrant.

More than 100 investigators from more than 20 law enforcement agencies collaborated with the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force to launch the operation.

Local detectives included teams from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Mateo, and South San Francisco Police Departments, the San Jose Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The following suspects were arrested:

1. Gordon Lee, age 44, of Daly City. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for Possession of Child Pornography.

2. Christopher Winans, age 24, of East Palo Alto. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for Possession of Child Pornography.

3. Charles Reyes, age 46, of  San Jose. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for arrest warrants and Possession of Child Pornography.

4. Stephen Wolf, age 64, of Portola Valley. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for Possession of Child Pornography. 

5. Paul Ambler, age 58, of San Mateo. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography.

6. Paul Tazbaz, age 36, of San Mateo. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for Possession of Child Pornography. 

7. Samnang Chun, age 23, of San Mateo. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography. 

8. Ritha Chun, age 29, of San Mateo also arrested, for an unrelated warrant on First Ave.

9. Steve Wilson, age 52, of South San Francisco. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for Possession of Child Pornography.

10. Cruz-Martin Caseiro-Rosas, age 32, of South San Francisco. Booked into San Mateo County Jail for Possession of Child Pornography.

The following information has been provided by the ICAC:

The 8-year-old Silicon Valley ICAC Task Force is one of 61 around the nation targeting peer-to-peer file sharing online, evolving from previous investigative techniques when suspects often were identified through chatroom decoy operations. Investigators search for hard-core images involving pre-pubescent children.  They connect with suspects who are sharing the images and track their individual IP (Internet protocol) addresses. Investigators then  use search warrants to figure out who owns the individual IP address and carry out search warrants for those people's homes. The San Jose Police Department is the lead agency for the SVICAC Task Force.

A key feature of the task force arsenal is a mobile forensics lab that allows investigators in a technology-stocked van to drive up to a suspect's home, seize hard drives and immediately begin searching for evidence that would normally take months to obtain from a state Department of Justice lab.

The SVICAC Task Force has arrested over 40 men for possession of child pornography since November. The task force has conducted a number of child porn enforcement operations in the Bay Area over the last few months, including multiple arrests in Marin County, Sonoma County, Monterey County, Alameda County, San Jose and Oakland.

COMMUNITY SAFETY MESSAGE FROM THE SAN MATEO POLICE DEPARTMENT:

Identification and arrest of individuals viewing and trafficking in child pornography is an important way that local law-enforcement agencies, in coordination with specialized groups like ICAC, prevent tragedies from occurring in our communities. Investigators have found significant links between the possession and trading of child pornography and the actual victimization of children, including a progression by some suspects from fantasy (internet child porn) to reality (sexual crimes against actual child-victims). Frequent operations such as these help keep our communities safe.

The residential location of many registered sex offenders can be located by simply searching the Megan’s Law website:  

http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/  or via CrimeReports.com: www.crimereports.com

Public safety information about keeping children safe on the internet can be found at these websites:

http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide/parent-guide

http://www.netsmartz.org/Parents

Bren March 25, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Laura Dudnick, speaking as one of Patch's most cantankerous commenters, I must say I'm impressed with your level of responsiveness! Patch seems to interact with its readers much more than your typical news outlet, and I'd be similarly impressed even if you left those street names in the story. I have a friend who works for a local newspaper, and I've been telling him for some time now that his paper's Web site could really learn a thing or two from yours!
Bren March 25, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Brandon Smith, in all fairness, I suspect that these particular suspects probably had enough material on their hard drives that it would have been easy for the police to distinguish between inadvertent downloads and a consistent pattern of activity.
Deanne Cooper-Roettger March 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Innocent until proven guilty..........With that said, send these low life scumbags over to Afghanistan!! Let the Marines have them for 6 months or a year. Bet our crime rates would drop if our justice system wasn't just a slap on the wrist or having a roof over your head, 3 meals a day, cable tv, internet and phone calls!! If "would be criminials" knew they would be handed over to our military for X amount of time, I bet they might just think twice before doing the crime!!!! ~Proud Mom of a US Marine~
WEACHATER August 23, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Very interesting that you are a prominent posted here as well as for the metro Milwaukee market as well. So who exactly are you, a mouth piece for this liberal rag called Patch of maybe some DNC plant?
Bren August 24, 2012 at 02:12 AM
WEACHATER wrote: 3:27 pm on Thursday, August 23, 2012 Very interesting that you are a prominent posted here as well as for the metro Milwaukee market as well. So who exactly are you, a mouth piece for this liberal rag called Patch of maybe some DNC plant? -------------------------------------------------- Weachater, again, it's really weird of you to follow me around and post this exact same comment under at least three different articles that I've commented on. Do you understand you're making yourself look like a crazy person when you do that? Also, would you like to elaborate on your reasons for believing I am a DNC plant? Please be as detailed as possible.

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