Operation Predator: A Multi-Agency Statewide Operation Targeting Child Pornography Offenders
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 29, 2010|
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and New Mexico Attorney General Gary K. King announced today that during the past two weeks, federal, state, and local law enforcement affiliates of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed 22 search warrants as part of "Operation Predator." Operation Predator was aimed at identifying individuals throughout New Mexico involved in the distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography through peer-to-peer file sharing programs.
According to William Wiltse, the Security Director for Law Enforcement Systems of TLO, a company that develops law enforcement technologies that protect children and monitors for computers engaged in child pornography criminal conduct throughout the United States, more than 4000 different IP addresses have been used to view, download, and/or distribute child pornography in New Mexico since January 2010. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies initiated Operation Predator in recognition of the need to combat this prevalent and constantly growing epidemic within our communities.
Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed the unrelated federal and state search warrants at residences in Albuquerque, Bloomfield, Cedar Crest, Cimarron, Farmington, Las Cruces, Lovington, Pojoaque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, and Tularosa, and seized computers and computer-related evidence related to child pornography offenses. To date, eight individuals have been arrested for violating federal and state child pornography laws as part of Operation Predator:
- Isaac Adams, 34, of Albuquerque, was charged with four counts of distribution of child pornography and eight counts of possession of child pornography in the Second Judicial District Court, Bernalillo County.
- David Aguilar, 23, of Albuquerque was charged with 12 counts of possession of child pornography in the Second Judicial District Court, Bernalillo County.
- Alex Brunty, 19, of Albuquerque, was charged with nine counts of possession of child pornography in the Second Judicial District Court, Bernalillo County.
- David Hamel, 30, of Lovington, was charged by criminal complaint with 20 counts of manufacturing child pornography in Fifth Judicial District Court, Lea County.
- Brandon Hronich, 26, of Cimarron, was arrested on September 15, 2010 based on a federal criminal complaint charging distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography. According to the criminal complaint, Hronich has admitted to a prior military conviction related to possession of child pornography. Hronich is detained pending trial.
- Richard Krisman, 36, of Rio Rancho, was charged with 30 counts of possession of child pornography in Thirteenth Judicial District Court, Sandoval County. A supplemental search warrant was acquired for Krisman's residence to seize evidence related to stolen property and identity theft.
- Shawn Perry, 36, of Santa Fe, was charged with one count of possession of child pornography in the First Judicial District Court, Santa Fe County.
- Wayne Shirley, 58, an attorney who resides in Cedar Crest, was arrested on September 28, 2010 on a federal criminal complaint charging him with distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography. A detention hearing for Shirley is scheduled for September 30, 2010.
All other matters are pending investigation. A criminal complaint is only an accusation. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said: "As I have previously stated, but bears repeating: what we can never forget about child pornography is that there are real children—little boys and little girls—who were horribly abused in order to manufacture these images of child sexual abuse. Their lives were unalterably scarred for the viewing pleasure of persons that are attracted to this type of material, the demand for which creates a worldwide market for the images and for the abuse they contain. Each and every time someone views a pornographic image of a child, that child is victimized again. The people of New Mexico are fortunate to have a Task Force comprised of well trained, experienced officers who are devoted to aggressively investigating those who sexually exploit our children via the Internet so that these offenders can be held accountable for their serious crimes."
Attorney General Gary King said: "This operation is a good example of the strong impact law enforcement can have in stopping child predators by working together as a team. This will let parents know that they should be vigilant in order to be sure their children are safely interacting with the Internet."
The law enforcement agencies that participated in Operation Predator include: Albuquerque Police Department, Farmington Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Las Cruces Police Department, New Mexico Attorney General's Office, New Mexico State Police, Rio Rancho Police Department, Santa Fe Police Department, the United States Marshal's Office in Las Cruces, the First Judicial District Attorney's Office, the Fifth Judicial District Attorney's Office, and the Eighth Judicial District Attorney's Office. The criminal cases generated by this Operation will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office, the New Mexico Attorney General's Office, and local District Attorney's Offices.
Operation Predator was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and DOJ's Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Operation Predator also was brought as part of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force whose mission it is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 59 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies associated with Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Attorney General's Office. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.