‘Operation Monster Mash’ cracks down on online predators | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

12 arrested in ‘Operation Monster Mash’ crackdown of online predators in Northern California

Morning. Thank you all for being here. I wanna thank our 18 regional partners for being here, interstate regional and federal agencies. I thank you again, the governor, Governor Newsom for the increasing funding for ICAC allowing more operations like this to occur, targeting the very worst in our society. And think about this. Um *** few years ago, it was $1 million statewide for five task forces. That was $200,000 *** year, which isn’t that much. And, and last year he did $3 million or two years ago, $3 million which is significant jump in that. So we really appreciate the governor doing that. Um These operations take *** lot of resources, time and money to investigate and also prosecute. Thank you to assembly members, Stephanie Wynn, Cecilia Aguiar, Curry, Carlos Vudu. And he for, for coming out and actually seeing firsthand um what takes place this operation focused on child pornography now referred to as CS *** child sexual abuse material. 32 million cyber tips occurred in 2022 32 million meta or Facebook, Instagram and whatsapp accounted for 27 million. So the 32 million it accounted for 27 million. Um in the coming month, meta will go to full encryption. So think about that, the majority of those tips we will no longer get on child pornography because most of these child pornography images are, are JPEG. It’s *** fingerprint. So it’s being traded across the internet. So they know ahead of time the carriers what it is that’s being downloaded or traded. So we’re gonna lose the majority of those tips. Think about that number 32 million and they’re responsible for 27 million tips. There are to 12 total arrests throughout Northern California. Sexual images of infants, toddlers who were forced to engage in sexual abuse, including some that involve bondage discipline, dominance and submission. And I’m gonna say that again, infants and toddlers, one suspect at *** citrus heights was also identified as *** suspect in *** hands on offense with *** minor. Several more charges have been added. You think about child pornography. And II I was watching the show the other day on, on streaming. It talked about pornography and just the internet. What the internet has done with that 20 years ago. If you had an affliction for kids and infants where, where there was nowhere to go, there was nowhere to go. With the advent of the internet. It is rampant on the internet and with COVID, it really exploded. It’s been *** big issue, folks, downloading folks trading, there are chat clubs in there. Well, they trade infant ***. Hey, if you give me this image, I’ll give you that image, whether it’s individuals must in their own Children, other kids trading images. And what’s disturbing. Now in the past few years, we’ve seen where people are more hands on, not just looking at the material but going hands on and molesting someone. In this case, this individual molested, I believe *** 13 year old kid, we’re seeing quite *** bit of this. So it’s, it’s troubling and we can’t get it done without *** task force and that’s the beauty of it. We go out, we train other agencies, provide them with equipment. So there’s *** need for it to get trained up and, and these folks from the Sacramento region and we couldn’t get it done without them. You can’t do it on your own. The problem is that big, we wanna change it and make *** difference and we with these kids, um they don’t deserve this. These folks don’t get rehabilitated. These individuals are the scum of the earth, but you wanna do bad things to kids. And I’ll tell you what, I appreciate those four assembly members coming out and seeing this. They saw firsthand the images that are downloaded that these individuals are engaged and they traffic in. So you think about that they’re not gonna change and the uh quite *** large group have that it’s, it’s an affliction you don’t change. You don’t re rehabilitate someone that, that looks at pornography like this, that enjoys it, that trades it, that gets off on it. Those are real hard facts and, you know, you can talk about it *** lot and we ok, internet crimes against Children, ICAC child pornography. But until you actually see it, that’s what really changed. So I’m hopeful that these assembly members are gonna help us pass laws in California and really make it more stringent to deal with these folks. They’re downloading this. And now we’re also seeing is um teenagers, young kids download child pornography. So it really truly runs the gamut with this. So next up, I want to introduce our outgoing ICAC task force. Uh supervisor Sergeant Brendan Gaiman and his newly incoming sergeant, Eric Steindorff who’s taken over for sergeant, um Gaiman, Sergeant Gaiman. Thanks Sheriff. Uh good morning. My name is Sergeant Brandon Gaiman. Uh I was the supervisor for the ICAC task force for this operation. Uh This is operation monster mash, which is *** two week joint operation. Uh as the sheriff said, included 18 agencies from the Sacramento region. Uh I know they’re posted up here uh on, on the wall for everybody to see, but I just wanted to recognize each agency because each agency does uh contribute quite *** bit uh as far as uh as resources and support to the task force. Uh So obviously the Sacramento County Sheriff’s office, Rancho Cordova Police Department, Sacramento County District Attorney’s office, Citrus Heights, police Department, Sacramento Police Department, San Joaquin Sheriff’s office, Elk Grove, police Department, Folsom Police Department, Plaster County Sheriff’s office, Roseville Police Department, Rockland Police Department. Plaster County District Attorney’s office, El Dorado County District Attorney’s office, the California Highway Patrol, computer crimes investigations unit, the California Department of Justice, the Sacramento County, uh, probation Department, uh, Vacaville Police Department and the FBI of Sacramento. Uh, these are just *** handful of agencies that belong to the Sacramento Valley High Tech Crimes Task Force. Uh However, these are the ones that were able to participate, uh, in this proactive operation, uh, f uh, for operation monster mash. Uh, so this is our, our third operation, uh, that we’ve conducted, uh, under the ICAC umbrella, uh, during this calendar year. Um, two of them, uh, were proactive, which included this one. Uh, so earlier in the year we brought to you guys, uh, the undercover chat operation, uh, where, uh, officers and detectives, uh, posed as minors, uh, and, uh, identify people who were attempting to meet up with minors for the purposes of, uh, having sex. Uh, just *** couple of months ago, we came in front of you to, uh, speak about cyber tips, uh, which, uh, uh, as the sheriff stated, um, comes from Nick Mick. Uh, and those are tips that are reported to us for people who are download, downloading and trading child pornography or CS ***. Uh, and this is, uh, our, our third one for the year, uh, which we’re identifying as *** proactive, uh, investigation, uh, as the sheriff did, did discuss, um, you know, there is potential for losing cyber tips in the future, uh, based upon platforms going to full encryption. Uh, what that does is just creates, um, *** shadow for these, uh, offenders to continue to hide in, uh, however through investigations like these and operations like these, our goal is to, to go out and find, find those suspects, uh, and bring them out of the cover of darkness, uh, and hopefully get them arrested. So, uh, today we are gonna talk about *** handful of people. Um, but there are *** lot more out there. Um, so today I’m gonna share some information and details on the suspects and the proactive investigations specifically related to this operation. Uh, and like the sheriff stated, uh, I just wanted to thank the regional partners, uh, who came out to participate. Uh, I think it’s important to, to not only recognize them for their commitment, uh, but also for the, uh, investigators who we have here in the room with us. Um, who, who have that mental fortitude to be able to, uh, look at the content, uh, as the sheriff did say, is, is pretty horrendous, uh, and be able to, uh, move this investigation to *** point where we’re able to serve search warrants, uh, and get people in custody. Uh, uh, I think it’s important for the public to know as well. Um, that the daily dangers our children’s face and the prevalence of child pornography suspects who reside in our community. And you know, some of the details we are going to discuss today are disturbing. Um, they’re disturbing for the investigators to have to look at every day. Uh, but that’s the job that they have to do to keep it, uh, people safe. Uh So in total, the operation resulted in uh the arrest of 12 suspects, uh who were listed up here. Um One is, uh is, is pending. Uh some of those charges range from possession of child pornography, the distribution of child pornography production or manufacturing of child pornography loot act with *** child under the age of 14, loot act with *** minor by force or fear felon in possession of *** firearm and felon in possession of ammunition. Uh So, so when we call this *** proactive investigation, uh we uh deploy different uh investigative techniques to be able to locate these people uh and target people who are downloading the most horrendous uh child pornography or CS ***. Uh In this case, uh many, uh if not all of the offenders, uh who we arrested uh were in possession of uh infant and toddler CS ***. Uh again, they were en forced to engage in sexual abuse that included uh degrading urination videos, bondage, discipline, dominance and submission and sat uh masochism uh based on the amount of evidence that was seized. I’m not able to give you, uh, *** quantifiable number on exactly how many pictures or how many videos, uh, we were able to seize. Uh, but we’re well into the tens of thousands, uh, with some offenders even, uh, having as much as five terabytes uh worth of C sand, which is probably more than any of you guys, uh, have, uh, storage for, on any of your personal computers right now unless you’re in the computer world. So we’re talking, we’re not just talking about one or two images or somebody who accidentally downloaded something. We’re talking about people who uh collect um and um get pleasure out of watching Children suffer or go through uh some of these sexual events that they’ve been forced to do. Uh *** as the sheriff. Uh Also kind of discussed, there is *** correlation. Um People aren’t just child pornography, uh viewers. Uh eventually, uh these suspects get to *** point where they get over that hurdle of just viewing the child pornography and they start going hands on with Children. Uh So one suspect Josh Lavilla from Citrus Heights uh was identified as *** suspect in *** hands on offense with *** minor uh through different investigative techniques. Detectives were able to uncover that Sevilla had committed forcible sex acts with the minor for over two years between uh the ages of 11 and 12 with that minor. Uh at the conclusion of the investigation, Sevilla was charged with 12 counts of loot acts with *** minor by force or fear eight counts of loot acts with *** minor under the age of 14 and one count for the possession of child pornography. Uh, Sila is currently in custody and being held on *** million dollar bond. Uh, so as we’re kind of wrapping up this, uh, this operation, uh, we’re still sorting through *** lot of the digital evidence. Uh Again, that, that I discussed is, is quite *** bit to go through. Um And, um, if there are people out there who uh know these suspects who have been victimized by these suspects, uh or believe that they have information about uh victims who could have been victimized by these suspects. Uh You are encouraged to reach out to your local law enforcement agencies. Uh In closing, I just wanted to highlight the fact that the uh internet crimes against Children are only gonna continue to increase as the sheriff stated. Um We are going to have to look at different techniques and um different ways that we deploy to uh be able to, to find these uh these pedophiles and bring them out from the darkness. Um, technology is growing but techno technology is also getting harder uh and making the jobs harder for the investigators. So, uh again, I just wanted to, to thank everybody who was able to come out and uh thank you for the, to the sheriff and everybody up here for the support of, uh, these investigations. Thank you. Thank you, Sheriff Cooper and our partners at the internet Crimes against Children task force. My name is Don Blade. I’m the chief over the Bureau of Sex Crimes and Family Violence. On behalf of district attorney Tin Ho. I wanna thank you and this team for the work that they’ve done in monster mash this operation and all of the other investigations they’ve done. We are dedicated as an office to prosecuting these cases, to holding these predators accountable. Those who are in possession of child pornography, child sexual abuse material and those distributing it. In addition to those acting on it as *** sheriff and our investigators have told you this is not just an image crime, there are faceless, nameless kids out there depicted in these horrific photographs. We wanna find those predators and shut them down. Law enforcement is out there. They’re out online, they’re hunting you, they’re looking for you. You should know that you are not safe trading these images online. This problem, the scope of it in Sacramento is so vast that we’ve had to add an additional prosecutor to our cyber teams. Um prosecution unit. We now have two full time prosecutors dedicated in Sacramento to prosecuting these kinds of crimes. The caseload is now at 85 and these operations build those case loads and those caseloads result in convictions and holding these individuals accountable. I want to thank all of our partners, we as uh you heard the statistics on the cases filed and those arrested, I won’t go over them again. But you should know that we have filed charges. We were actively involved in doing search warrants throughout this operation. There were 12 that resulted from digital evidence on to actual home search warrants. And that’s how these arrests took place is through countless hours of going through this imagery doing diagnostic on the cyber aspect of these cases and resulted in these individuals being held accountable. And we as *** district attorney’s office will do our best to make sure that they receive the harshest punishments that we’re able to impose, given the restrictions that we have with the current laws. Thank you. So take *** good look at the pictures, those individuals, I it says *** lot about them and this was *** proactive investigation that specifically targeted the worst of the worst infants and toddlers bottom line. And as, as Sergeant Gaiman said, thousands of images, it wasn’t just, hey, I just clicked the wrong link. No, you consciously downloaded it and traded it. And that’s that this is horrific and I wish I could show you all in the public how bad it is. You have no idea how horrific it is to these kids, the abuse they suffer, it’s gonna scar them for life. Um These folks are evil, they’re bad and that’s why we’re here to expose them and what they do and also to talk about Facebook and me, Facebook or Meta whatever you wanna call it, they wanna shrink their responsibility, think about it. 27 million tips through their platforms come in *** year out of 34 million and they’re more worried about profits than doing what’s right for our kids. That’s really what it comes down to and they’re gonna go to full encryption. So then how do we capture these bad people? And we know it’s on the increase right now that really hamstrings us in doing that. So, so ask yourself, um who does meta represent, who’s meta concerned about privacy, your medical records on your phone, your bank records. Um That’s *** bunch of crap, its profits over our Children. So that, that’s *** big issue that we’ve got to tackle with and hopefully the legislature would do something about it because it frustrates us and we’re all up here together and some of our partners are missing. But without these 18 agencies, this doesn’t work. It is *** team effort, *** team lift because they’re everywhere. It’s not just one jurisdiction, they’re out there. So if you know these individuals have been around your Children, um please contact our investigators if you have any information um on these individuals, that’s why we have their faces up here. It’s important to us. So we wanna thank you all for coming. If you have any questions, we’d be more than happy to answer them. Taking steps to talk with legislature, legislators about, you know, this meta issue and the encryption and, and when is that supposed to go into effect? I do have time to get to it before. It actually, probably not. And the big issue, one thing about the tech industry, *** lot of money and they all stand together. So I don’t care what the issue is when um, laws are introduced or, or, or talked about regarding the tech industry, they all line up together regardless and they’re very good about that and trying to defeat legislation, this is unconscionable, unconscionable. Why would you do it? But that’s what you face in the tech industry. *** lot of influence, *** lot of power in the legislature and that’s the big issue we face um in terms of these people that you guys arrested, was it all on the same day? Is there something that connects these two over the, over the course of two weeks? And we really wanted to get the worst of the worst. So that’s, that was specifically targeted for folks that deal with infants and Children, sexual abuse dominance. Everything. Is there *** particular reason why you guys do sort of these news conferences, you know, announcing all of these big arrests together? Is there *** particular um kind of like *** strategic reason behind that really to educate the public? So I, I was *** commander for this unit. I’ve been in law enforcement over 25 years and I didn’t know what it was and I went there and I was shocked at what I saw. Like I said, you can talk about it all you want. But until you actually see these images, these videos, these pictures, it really paints *** different picture, especially if anyone’s got kids or nieces or nephews, it takes it to *** whole another level. And like I said, it’s unfortunate that picture of video is worth 1000 words and like I said, us talking about it does not do it justice about how bad it is until you actually see it. And these legislators, uh the hope is having personally seen that they can go back on the floor of the Senate or assembly and talk about what they’ve seen and hopefully have some influence on their colleagues about how we attack this. I’ll tell you one thing women’s caucus, they’re there for women and children’s issues. They have never weighed on, in on this and shame on them for not, not doing that and protecting our Children as *** women’s caucus in the legislature. What have they done regarding this ever on these bills that have been introduced to deal with this? Not one thing I was there for eight years I saw with my own face, we know that meta is being sued by States across the United States including California for um you know, being negligent to teens mental health. Are you hoping that California might consider now adding some, um, allegations toward their negligence with sex crimes against Children. Well, hopefully, and really deal with it. I said their platforms, *** lot of content is generated on it. They’ve got to do something. They can’t be dismissive of it and just turn *** blind eye to it and press conferences like this is to really educate, you, educate the public on the issues and that’s ultimately what it comes down to because people just don’t know, you know, they’ll see this newscast and, and print or on radio and they’ll, they’ll listen for *** minute, but they really don’t know the depth of it. Do you uh you were talking that this is the worst of the worst. Um Are you still following up any other leads on any other uh maybe suspects that you guys have? We always are. And obviously these folks have traded with other individuals. So it’s like it’s like having your finger in ***, in *** ***. It’s that much, it is overwhelming so many cases that we can’t get to them all. So in this case, it’s trying to be proactive with this and, and hopefully stem the tide. But you know, it’s, it’s *** tough job and al also what just the investigators are here. They’re standing there, look at those images and like I said, *** terabyte. So you may have thousands of pictures, thousands of videos on your mobile device, your, your computer, your desktop, whatever they go through everyone. And some of these videos are, you know, hours long that you’re watching these kids being tortured. So it’s very traumatizing on them also to see that. Um, that’s why wellness is so important with them. But they see these horrific images over and over and over again. And the reason they stay there because they have the expertise, they’ve dealt with it in dealing with this. They, they’re the best of the best when it comes to child pornography. But it’s *** hard job. It affects you mentally and physically. Have you been able to, um, how did they find their victims? And are they local? And can you get, are parents involved? Like, how does parents involved in getting them out of it? I mean, how does it, how do they, one individual had *** chat with *** parent, um, to let one of these individuals, uh, molest their kid, they’re going back and forth on *** chat with that. Um, so really just these guys go out and groom kids. There were books on the internet, how to groom *** kid and just so many things out there. If you start researching it, the black web, there’s so many avenues available to get this material that it’s really shocking and the average person doesn’t look for that stuff. But these people are sick, they’re, they’re pedophiles, they’re sex offenders and that’s, they get off on that. That’s their joy, their entertainment. Yes and all over, it just depends, they’re all over. And you were talking about, you were talking about meta and um Meta obviously owns Instagram and Facebook, right? Is there any other social media that kids are, you know, being targeted, maybe Snapchat or tiktok? Do you know of any other social media, whatsapp? And those are all the meta platforms and, and we’re talking folks that trade it, folks traded *** lot and then the bottom line, especially *** kid and we’ll see *** lot of sex extorts, extortion where these individuals, uh they portray themselves as Children and start talking to another kid and get sexually explicit photos and then, hey, keep giving me photos. I’m gonna put it out there and tell your parents, your friends. So we see that *** lot kids have committed suicide by that. So there’s *** lot of things that happen because of it but, but meta is just um turning *** blind eye to it. It’s more important like I said, and for them to, to determine what’s child pornography is pretty easy. They send us an email, let us notify us. So it really doesn’t put them out *** whole lot. It’s as simple as an organization of business not to do that profits over Children. What are the penalties that the suspects face now that they’ve been arrested and charged uh significant penalties. So game and talk about it or actually d *** office, I’m sorry. But, but sometimes in the past, we’ve gone federal charges sometimes because the federal charges are more, much more significant than the state. And the issue is with the legislature in this. That’s true. So oftentimes the federal charges carry *** higher sentence in uh Sacramento County with respect to the penal code sections. There’s um it’s per group of images. So the charges have to do with um numbers of images and then we can do multiple counts depending on how many images and those counts, depending on what’s depicted in them can range up to three years but only to six years in prison per count. So when you know that there’s an actual sexual assault of *** child behind that image, it really should make you stop and think about what the appropriate sentence is. This isn’t just about having photographs, it’s about encouraging and procuring images of Children who are actively being assaulted in *** sexual manner and those penalties are just not significant enough. But we do what we can with the parameters that we have, we charge as we’re able to prove. I think one more important fact is that um *** lot of these folks have never been arrested and never had contact with law enforcement and they view themselves as *** normal person and they minimize their involvement. Hey, it’s *** toddler but it’s not an infant, you know, or, and that’s what we deal with. That’s what the investigators here, these guys justifying what they’re doing and really minimizing it to the, to the extreme that’s difficult when you’re interviewing someone and talking to them. Yet they’re minimizing what they’re doing in their own mind. Like I said, the vast majority have never been contacted by law enforcement, never been in trouble. And that’s what’s disturbing because they’re out there working in our neighborhoods. You actually, what is it that you guys are, uh, really *** change in legislation to really deal with it? It’s *** problem. It’s prolific right now and we’ve got to address it and they can, they’re coming back in January, they’re inducing brand new legislation in January. So hopefully, one of our representatives from the Sacramento area will go ahead and introduce some legislation and we talk about it. But, but for me, it took, bring those folks out there to see it to really hope for *** change, you know, and I’m just, I don’t know if I’m optimistic or what, but it’s gonna be *** tough road to climb. It’s not gonna be easy. Is there *** specific sort of area that you’re over lacking in terms of your penal code that, that ties you guys hand that you’re looking for, is it part of your penalty? And, and we’re looking at that, we, we’ve got some suggestions for them on legislation and we’ll put it forward and then I’ll figure out what they wanna run and then with, with the make up of the legislature you have to be very careful in what bills you introduce. And it’s tough. I mean, to me this is kind of *** no brainer crimes like this. They should get the maximum penalty and hopefully get some rehabilitation, but it’s not seen that way in the legislature right now because they’re very soft on crime. They don’t want to introduce any bills or legislation that send someone to jail or prison. That’s the makeup of the legislature. That’s how it’s been for *** number of years now. Um Could you, uh, tell us again, what are these said? Large? But what’s the range of the God, infants, newborns all the way to toddlers, you know? Yeah, it, it, it runs in, in pictures and videos *** question for but does the task force work on wiping the images off the area at all? Is that *** difficult thing? And you do it? Yes. I mean, you’ve heard the saying that, you know, once it goes to the internet, there’s not, there’s never getting any, getting rid of it. Um What the investigators do and, and working with Nick Mick is identifying the photos that have been shared online. Uh And then working with Nick Mick to then um find *** way to identify if that picture has been uh shared uh through other platforms uh or sent, you know, through different emails and stuff. So they, there are proactive attempts on, on Nick mix and to reduce uh the amount of times that images are sent. But on once they’re out there there, there’s no pulling it back. Any other questions, you said none of these people were recurring offenders, right? They were, they were, they never, I think 11 did, but the majority have never had contact with law enforcement and no sexual charge and no sexual charges. Yeah. And that’s typically in these investigations, keep in contact, I’d say about probably 95% 96% never been in trouble. Correct. Uh, so that person is not depicted up there just because we’re pending some additional charges. That’s why, uh, my math isn’t off. We’re, we’re just, uh, we remove some people, uh, just for the integrity of some of the investigations. Ok. Well, for further questions. Thank you all for coming. I appreciate it. Thank you.

12 arrested in ‘Operation Monster Mash’ crackdown of online predators in Northern California

Multiple agencies took part in a two-week operation in Northern California that led to a dozen men being arrested, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said. Evidence from the operation included pictures of toddlers and infants that depicted sexual abuse.One man from Citrus Heights faces charges for “forcible sex acts with a minor,” the sheriff’s office said. “Operation Monster Mash” marked the third operation of its kind this year to crack down on child sexual abuse material.Watch the full news conference announcing the arrests in the video above.

Multiple agencies took part in a two-week operation in Northern California that led to a dozen men being arrested, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said.

Evidence from the operation included pictures of toddlers and infants that depicted sexual abuse.

One man from Citrus Heights faces charges for “forcible sex acts with a minor,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Operation Monster Mash” marked the third operation of its kind this year to crack down on child sexual abuse material.

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Watch the full news conference announcing the arrests in the video above.

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