WILMINGTON, Del. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia presented a national HSI award Monday recognizing the exemplary partnership with federal and Delaware law enforcement.
Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan presented the annual HSI "Exemplary Partnership Award" to Delaware Child Predator Task Force/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) members for their combined efforts to investigate a group of registered child sex offenders in Delaware involved in the distribution and production of child pornography. Their joint efforts resulted in the arrests of three child predators. Members from the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, Delaware State Police, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, and HSI special agents were recognized during the event.
"The safety of our children is of vital importance and will always be a top priority for our department," said Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn. "It gives me great pride to see the work of our Child Predator Task Force and its cooperation with law enforcement agencies, both in and outside of Delaware, as its members work to protect some of our state’s most vulnerable population."
"The relationship between our respective agencies, especially the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, is effectively resulting in numerous successes in the detection and prosecution of those whose intent is to exploit our children," said U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III.
The investigation began in 2012 and focused on individuals who were convicted child sex offenders incarcerated together in the James T. Vaughn Correctional Facility’s "E-Block" in Smyrna, Delaware. Investigators found the sex offenders created a network and continued their involvement in the transfer and production of child pornography amongst themselves via e-mail, text message, and the U.S. mail after their release from prison.
The targets of the investigation were Roger Cordero, William Zimmerman, and David Pennington. The investigation includes joint state and federal prosecutions.
On Dec. 20, 2012, officers of the Delaware Child Predator Task Force executed a state search warrant at Roger Cordero’s home in New Castle, Delaware. Investigators found computers and computer-related media and forensically examined them for evidence of child exploitation, identifying three flash drives. A forensics preview of the drives revealed more than 300 images of child erotica and 30 images of child pornography. During interviews of Cordero by ICAC officers, Cordero admitted to trading child pornography via the mail with his friends David Pennington and William Zimmerman.
Later in the day of Dec. 20, 2012, officers and detectives of the Delaware Child Predator Task Force and HSI agents executed a state search warrant on Pennington’s residence in Georgetown, Delaware. During the search detectives found, among other items of evidence, an envelope from Cordero addressed to Pennington’s residence.
On Jan. 8, 2013, officers of the Delaware Child Predator Unit and HSI agents executed a state search warrant at Zimmerman’s house in Georgetown, Delaware. Several computers and related media were located and forensically examined for evidence of child exploitation. A forensic preview revealed approximately 50 images of child exploitation on these devices.
Pennington was sentenced to 28 years in prison Oct. 13, after he pleaded guilty to dealing in child pornography in the Delaware Superior Court. On April 22, 2014, Zimmerman was sentenced to 15 years of incarceration and 10 years of supervised release by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware after pleading guilty to receipt of child pornography.
Cordero has a plea hearing scheduled for March 17 on charges of transportation of child pornography. If convicted, he faces a sentence of 15 to 40 years in prison.