General Crime

Law enforcement conducted a sweep suspected child pornography users, Monterey County, Operation Monterey Chicken Hawk

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A group of law enforcement officials conducted a sweep of suspected child pornography users in Monterey County on Wednesday that resulted in seven arrests, according to Salinas police. In an action called Operation Monterey Chicken Hawk, officers launched the morning sweep with warrants to search six homes in Salinas, Marina and Castroville, police said.

They seized computers suspected of containing pornographic images of children for distribution or possession, police said. Among those arrested on suspicion of felony possession of child pornography were Salinas residents Curt Tamanaha, 30; Howard Daly, 56; Miguel Marquez Rodriguez, 26; Paulino Maldonado, 29; and Jaime Maldonado, 21. Eric Olsen, 49, of Castroville, and Jorge Vargas, 24, of Castroville, were also arrested.

Teams of officers from the Marina and San Jose police departments, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security participated in the sweep, police said. The agencies conducted the operation in collaboration with the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, made up of local law enforcement agencies that investigate child pornography in 11 counties in the Bay Area. A total of 87 detectives from 27 law enforcement agencies aided the task force in the investigation, police said.

The task force, one of 61 across the country, targets peer-to-peer Internet sites with pornographic images of children to find out who is downloading the images and obtain warrants to search their homes. The group employs a mobile forensics van that is driven to a suspect’s residence and is used to examine the hard drives of seized computers to locate potential evidence of child pornography. In recent months, the group has conducted sweeps of child pornography in other Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara and San Francisco, police said.

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