Arnulfo Santana Jr., 21, of Hamilton, NJ, is charged with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child for possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of child pornography, as well as one count of third-degree possession of child pornography. Santana is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center in Hopewell pending a detention hearing.
“We want offenders to know we are out there online, protecting our children,” Prosecutor Onofri said. “We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to aggressively pursue and prosecute these predators that attempt to exploit our most innocent victims.”
An investigation into the sexual exploitation of children online ensued after the prosecutor’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit received a cyber tip. On Thursday morning, ICAC detectives, with assistance from the prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit and Homeland Security Investigations, executed a search warrant at Santana’s Hamilton home and took him into custody without incident.
The investigation revealed that Santana was in possession of thousands of image and video files of child pornography, some of which contained children as young as five years old. Santana would trade these images and videos to other individuals for new pornographic material.
Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Prosecutor Onofri urged anyone with information about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to please contact his Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit at 609-989-6568 or the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tipline at 888-648-6007.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.