Child porn sweep nabs 8 - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Child porn sweep nabs 8

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By: Melissa Toupin

mtoupin@abc6.com

Eight men, each from a different part of Rhode Island, were nabbed in a child pornography sweep Tuesday called ‘Operation Iceberg'. State Police held a press conference to announce the arrests.

A majority of the arrests came after a nearly three month long under cover investigation by the Computer Crimes Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force which worked to identify individuals involved in sharing images of child pornography on the Internet. One of the warrants stemmed from a cyber tip.

"Each person had an excess of 20 to 30 images. Some people over hundreds of images," said Lt. Todd Catlow who is the officer in charge of the Computer Crimes Unit.

Those arrested in the sweep include:

  • Wilfred Garant, 72, of Tiverton
  • Michael Lund, 31, of Warren
  • George Duprey, 50, of Pawtucket
  • Rafael Melo, 18, of East Providence
  • Howard Gurney, 70, of Foster
  • Santos Perez, 27, of Providence
  • Christopher Anderson, 22, of Johnston
  • John Licciardello, 57, of Barrington

The men are charged with possession and transfer of child pornography and were arraigned at Sixth Division District Court in Providence, Third Division District Court in Warwick, and Second Division District Court in Newport. Those who were arraigned in Providence were released on personal recognizance and ordered to stay off the Internet and away from children.

"The investigation did not reveal any known link to any child victims," said Lt. Catlow.

Neighbors say the arrests have them on edge. They will be keeping close tabs on their children.

"It's like they can't even play out on the streets and be safe any more," said Joe Morais of East Providence. "It's pretty scary knowing that you have someone right next to you when you got kids your self."

Investigators are combing through a room full of digital evidence and say additional charges could be forthcoming.

None of the eight people arrested in the sweep work with children.

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