INDIANAPOLIS - Five Indianapolis men are facing child pornography charges after being arrested in connection with Operation Community Watch, an initiative guided by the U.S. attorney's office with help from state and metro police.
The five suspects did not know one another or coordinate their efforts.
William Horner, 57, is charged with possession of child porn; Steve Delaney, 53, is charged with distribution of child porn; Sergio Zavala-Vertiz, 32, is charged with possession and distribution; Samuel Barnette, 42, of Noblesville, is charged with distribution; and Justin Cole, 23, is charged with distribution.
Authorities are acquiring and refining tools to unmask people who make, share and view child pornography.
"(We use) a technique of starting the computer forensic examination of their computers while we are literally talking to them while serving search warrants at their houses," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve DeBrota. "ISP and IMPD have personnel trained in doing this. We are able to rescue children in real time. We are able to identify what offenders are really doing."
Over the past year, the U.S. Attorney's Office has identified more than 120 child victims in Indiana alone, and 52 defendants have been prosecuted, resulting in 49 convictions.
"You are not anonymous when you are online," said U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett. "There is no place to run and no place to hide. Your days of freedom are numbered."
Investigators are still looking over video and images collected from the five defendants to see if other child victims can be identified, so they can be rescued.