|Hamilton, Mercer County, N.J. - Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa today announced the arrests of 24 men and one male juvenile in the latest operation aimed at the possession and distribution of child pornography, including child rape videos. Flanked by Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the State Police, and Deputy Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice, the Attorney General outlined the results of the collaborative effort dubbed Operation Ever Vigilant.
The Digital Technology Investigations Unit of the State Police began the investigation approximately three months ago by searching for New Jersey residents who were making child pornography, including child rape videos, available to others. These files show pre-pubescent boys and girls being sexually molested by being penetrated, or by being coerced into performing sexual acts on themselves, or others.
Working with law enforcement partners in the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, multi-agency teams swept across New Jersey between February 18th and 22nd to make the majority of the arrests. The charged defendants come from all walks of life, but each was found to be in possession of multiple sexually explicit videos of young children, which they had made available to others.
“Anyone who views and distributes child pornography – particularly the type of child rape videos targeted in this operation – puts himself in league with the predators who sexually assault children to create these videos,” said Attorney General Chiesa. “The children they watch being tortured are violated again by their actions, and these offenders may pose a danger to other children because of their predilections. We will remain ever vigilant to stop this predatory behavior against children.”
“Everyone sitting in the seclusion of their darkened homes viewing child rape videos has victimized these innocents by creating the market for this disgusting material. There’s no room for them to say, ‘I haven’t hurt anyone,’” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “With our partners, we will continue to uncover this behavior, and arrest all those involved.”
“This type of crime – committed against children, who obviously cannot defend themselves – commands forceful action from law enforcement,” said Elie Honig, Deputy Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The Division of Criminal Justice will continue to work with the State Police to arrest offenders who are involved in this exploitation, and to prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
The charges stemming from Operation Ever Vigilant will be prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice.
Five of those arrested had direct contact with young children, including two defendants who are alleged to be regular babysitters. Another defendant is a registered sex offender. Stephen Rainone, of South Amboy, is listed on the state’s sex offender Internet registry as a Tier 2 offender for sexual assault of girls under 13 years of age. Defendant Brent Ailiff of West Berlin remains in jail on $100,000 cash bail. A field preview of Ailiff’s digital storage media revealed hundreds of child pornography files. Four of those arrested remain incarcerated on detainers for being in the country without legal status. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents assisted in the processing of these subjects.
These videos and images are passed back and forth among users through emails and by way of file sharing networks. The networks operate the same way as websites used for privately sharing music or movies. Those in possession of the illegal images often make them available on computers that they control for others to download. Because many of these videos and photos keep recirculating, they make perpetual victims of the children abused in the production of child pornography.
In addition to videos involving child abuse, detectives also discovered disturbing sexually explicit videos portraying necrophilia and bestiality during the searches.
Operation Ever Vigilant seamlessly integrated more than 50 troopers, agents, detectives and officers from dozens of law enforcement agencies. The task force executed a total of 25 search warrants in 25 different towns across the state. All of the warrant entries were made by the NJSP T.E.A.M.S. Unit, which is a tactical operations group similar to SWAT. The affiant for the search and arrest warrants was Detective Chris Camm of the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit.
The Evidence Management Unit helped catalog the large amount of mostly computer-related evidence. All of the investigations are still considered ongoing since computer media seized as evidence have been turned over to the New Jersey Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory
(RCFL) for a thorough examination. This lab, located in the Technical Center in Hamilton, is a partnership with the FBI and is staffed with personnel from several different agencies including the NJSP. The RCFL works on computer evidence from New Jersey and surrounding states.
The agencies participating in Operation Ever Vigilant are:
County Prosecutor’s Offices
- Somerset (and Sheriff’s Office)
- State Police
- Division of Criminal Justice
- Parole Board
- West Long Branch PD
- Voorhees PD
- Woodbridge PD
- And local police departments from the towns in which the defendants reside
The U.S. Postal Service also provided valuable support in this operation.
Below is a list of those arrested during Operation Ever Vigilant. Each was charged with 2nd Degree Distribution of Child Pornography and 4th Degree Possession of Child Pornography:
- Stephen Rainone, 27, South Amboy, Middlesex County
- Louis Cedeno, 46, Palisades Park, Bergen County
- David Laidlaw, 36, Hillsdale, Bergen County
- Ernest Okhtenberg, 39, Fair Lawn, Bergen County
- Michael Suscreba, 66, Clifton, Passaic County
- Nil Choudhury, 23, Margate City, Atlantic County
- James Engle, 28, Budd Lake, Morris, County
- Albert Femiano, 30, Clark, Union County
- Frank Fiorelli, 61, Springfield, Union County
- Joseph Lorz, 26, Bergenfield, Bergen County
- Jose Oswaldo, 39, Fairview, Bergen County
- Alfred Bakewell, 64, Sicklerville, Camden County
- Moses Garcia, 25, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County
- Jose Holguin, 59, Fords, Middlesex County
- Alexander Ramirez, 36, North Plainfield, Somerset County
- Brent Ailiff, 38, West Berlin, Camden County
- Steven Anan, 52, Neptune City, Monmouth County
- Ryan Bronchella, 34, Clementon, Camden County
- Christopher Brondi, 57, Rumson, Monmouth County
- Manuel Sanchez-Olivarez, 37, Red Bank, Monmouth County
- Duane Bell, 43, Lawrence, Mercer County
- Giovanni Jimenez, 37, Trenton, Mercer County
- William Payton II, 20, Mount Holly, Burlington County
- Frank Sysk II, 19, Browns Mills, Burlington County
- Male juvenile, 17, Cherry Hill, Camden County
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because the charges are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.