Update: 8:27 a.m., July 20: A total of 15 male suspects were arrested Thursday during the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SVICAC) Santa Clara County-wide child pornography sweep dubbed "Operation Chickenhawk."
According to San Jose Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer, a spokesman for the sweep, the suspects were all booked into Santa Clara County Jail on felony possession of child pornography.
More than , helped in the lengthy effort with detectives still working some of the cases to make further arrests, Dwyer explained.
"There may be additional suspects ... they're all from Santa Clara County," he said.
Officers seized evidence linking the suspects to the distribution and/or possession of child pornography, Dwyer said. The suspects were arrested after investigators believed they were trading so-called "peer-to-peer" child pornography online, he added.
The operation proceeded without any injuries to the large amount of law enforcement personnel involved, Dwyer said, however one suspect suffered a cut in the head when he tried to avoid TV cameras as he was being walked out of his residence after being arrested.
"He tried to jump in the car really fast and bumped his head on the car and needed to get stitches at the hospital," Dwyer said.
This was the first time that such an operation has taken place in Santa Clara County, Dwyer said, adding that the agencies will probably collaborate on another effort soon. Similar raids have been conducted in Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Monterey counties.
"It's a taskforce approach," he said.
About the children involved in the disturbing images, Dwyer explained the suspects, in some cases, are taking the photos and the taskforce's continuing investigation will try to identify the victims and other people in the images.
"Rest assured that when we do see children in those pictures we are trying to put a name to that face and do a welfare check on the child to see if they're still being abused," Dwyer said.
The reason the effort is about nine suspects short of its goal of 20 arrests is because in some cases the officers couldn't find evidence at the scene and it takes time for law enforcement to find the evidence.
"They won't take somebody to jail ... but in the meantime the suspects are detained. Once pornography is found, they are transported [to jail]. We're still sifting through some of the evidence gathered and the searches."
Those arrested were:
- Yun Chen, 36, 1562 Woodmeadow Ct., San Jose, software engineer.
- Tom Truong, 27, 1939 Ensign Way, San Jose.
- Valentine Hyjek, 46, 1281 Morrill Ave., San Jose, worked as an IT tech.
- Lorenzo Caliva, 22, 32 Muirfield Ct., San Jose.
- Ismael Aragon, 53, 5275 Vera Lane, San Jose.
- Brandon Hellewell, 18, 4518 Del Rey Ave., San Jose. When getting into the transport wagon, he panicked when the media arrived jumped in too quickly. Hit his head on the top of the van and split it open. Was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
- Davide Signorelli, 30, 774 Luna Park Dr., San Jose, a computer hardware engineer.
- Luis Benavides, 29, 5974 Chesbro Ave., San Jose.
- Robert Henandez, 32, 5818 Blossom Ave., no city given,
- Tony Silva, 64, 2154 Talia Ave., Santa Clara, works in real estate.
- Mark Flores, 31, 4724 Mangrum Dr., Santa Clara.
No mugs are availabe as of the time of this posting for Hellewell and Hernandez, police said.
The arrests were made by different members of the taskforce, such as an FBI agent, a San Jose Police Department officer or a sheriff's deputy, he said.
Dwyer said the large group of officers participating in the effort convened early this morning at the San Jose Police Department, 201 W. Mission St. in San Jose, to begin the sweep.
Task force members served . The task force has reportedly conducted a number of child porn sweep in the Bay Area over the last few months and has nabbed .