A Marine Corps helicopter pilot was just one of several suspected child predators in San Diego taken into custody for possessing or distributing child pornography, federal officials announced Friday morning.
The 28-year-old stationed at the Marine Corp Air Station in Miramar is accused of posessing 4,000 images and 43 video files of suspected child pornography. Some of the images depicted child bestiality and child bondage.
The sweep was conducted by authorities with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)'s Homeland Security Investigations. Detectives arrested 190 suspects nationwide and nine in the San Diego area.
Another suspect arrested in the probe was a 32-year-old Vista man who was accused of using a hidden cell phone to tape an 11-year-old girl showering.
The man, who rented a room in the same residence as the girl, allegedly concealed the cell phone inside an electric shaver case with a hole in the cover. He then secretly recorded her.
The cell phone was found by the girl's family and turned over to authorities.
The man was arrested May 31 by the San Diego Sheriff's Office and handed over to ICE special agents.
Some of the victims preyed upon by other suspects arrested in the ICE sweep were sought by predators over the internet.
"Many of the child exploitation cases under Operation Orion began with a child or teen chatting with someone he or she met online,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Let this operation be a warning to anyone who would think they can use the Internet to exploit children: we are out there looking for you, we will find you, and you will be prosecuted.”
Seven other men in San Diego were among the 190 people arrested during the May sweep. They facing federal charges, including possession and distribution of child pornography over the Internet.