18 rescued in child pornography raids, feds say

4 people arrested in El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, N.M.

Friday, June 8, 2012 - 12:22pm

Eighteen victims of child pornography were rescued during a nationwide sweep by federal law enforcement agencies, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement announced Friday.

The sweep, dubbed Operation Orion, resulted in the arrests of 190 individuals, most of which were in the U.S. but included arrests in Argentina, the Philippines, Spain and the United Kingdom, ICE said in a press release. The operation took place from May 1 to May 31.

"Let this operation be a warning to anyone who would think they can use the Internet to exploit children: we are out there looking for you, we will find you, and you will be prosecuted," ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

Morton said as children begin summer vacations, parents should pay extra attention to how much time they spend on the Internet.

"Many of the child exploitation cases under Operation Orion began with a child or teen chatting with someone he or she met online," Morton said in the statement.

El Paso, Texas, HSI special agents arrested three people, and special agents in Las Cruces, N.M., made one arrest during Operation Orion.

The following were arrests made in El Paso:
• Armando Jesus Garcia, 18, high school student, arrested May 15 for possession of child pornography.
• Gary Lynn Ferrell, 40, unemployed, arrested May 22 for possession of child pornography.
• Jose Miranda, 46, local school district bus mechanic, arrested May 31 and charged with receiving and possessing material showing minors being sexually exploited.

HSI special agents in Las Cruces, N.M., made the following arrest:
• Erik B. Khan, 32, a basketball coach at a Las Cruces middle school, arrested May 22. He is charged with distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography.

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