FRESNO, Calif. - Three Kern County residents, including a former police officer, have been indicted on child pornography charges as a result of investigations by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Angel Landin, 45, a former Selma, Calif., police officer, was indicted on one count of receiving or distributing child pornography. The crime allegedly occurred between April 15, 2009, and August 19, 2010. According to court documents, HSI and the Fresno County Sheriff's Department began investigating Landin after detecting that a computer at his residence was being used to create images of child pornography available on a file-sharing network. A search warrant executed at Landin's Selma, Calif., home revealed a computer containing numerous video files of child pornography. Landin was taken into custody October 7 and released on supervision pending his next court appearance November 8.
Andrew Martinez, 23, of Bakersfield, Calif., was arrested Oct. 13 following his indictment on two counts of receiving or distributing child pornography. The offense allegedly occurred between December 2009 and February 2010. HSI determined that a computer at Martinez's residence was creating images of child pornography available on a file-sharing network. Searching the computer, investigators found dozens of still and video files of child pornography. Martinez, who is also charged in Kern County Superior Court with the continuous sexual abuse of three minors, has been deemed a flight risk and a danger to the community. He remains in custody pending his next court appearance November 15.
Anthony Ellrodt, 38, of Bakersfield, Calif., was also arrested by HSI agents Oct. 13. He is charged with one count of receiving or distributing child pornography in October 2009. According to court documents, HSI agents received information from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that Ellrodt had uploaded an image of child pornography to a photo-storage website and was making images of child pornography available on a file-sharing network. A search of Ellrodt's computer found hundreds of images of child pornography. Ellrodt was previously convicted in Kansas on a felony charge of aggravated indecent liberties with a minor in 1994 and sentenced to 32 months in prison. Ellrodt has been deemed a flight risk and danger to the community and remains in custody pending his next court appearance November 5.
Each charge in these cases carries a mandatory prison term of between five and 20 years and a potential fine of $250,000. Because of his prior conviction, Ellrodt faces a potential prison term of 15 to 40 years.
"Our office will continue to vigorously prosecute individuals who choose to use the Internet to sexually exploit children," said U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner. "We are committed to working with all of our local, state, and federal partners."
"My agents are aggressively pursuing child predators here in Bakersfield and throughout Kern County," said Michael Toms, resident agent in charge of ICE HSI in Bakersfield. "Those who mistakenly believe the anonymity of the Internet shields them from scrutiny are finding out they can't hide in cyberspace or behind their computers. We are doing everything in our power and using every tool at our disposal to identify them and ensure they are brought to justice."
The investigation was conducted under the auspices of ICE's Operation Predator and the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, national initiatives targeting those who sexually exploit children. The public is encouraged to report suspected child predators and suspicious activity by contacting ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE; and NCMEC, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.