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Eight Inland Empire men arrested in child porn case

December 2, 2011 |  7:42 pm

Eight residents of San Bernardino and Riverside counties were arrested Friday morning as part of a federal crackdown on suspected trafficking in child pornography, authorities said. 

Michael Peterson, 58, an Ontario pipefitter, allegedly had stored on his computers more than 500,000 such photographs and 7,500 videos, a spokesman for U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. said in a news release.

Peterson was identified during an undercover investigation by Department of Homeland Security investigators in Delaware targeting an online file-sharing network. He was arrested at his home and charged with possessing, receiving and distributing child pornography, authorities said.

David Christopher Jelaca, 37, a registered nurse, came under suspicion after he allegedly posted an ad on Craigslist seeking a "Dirty Daddy who likes to share his daughter's dirty panties," the release said. In email exchanges with undercover agents, Jelaca said he had sexual contact with girls as young as 15, according to authorities.

At his La Quinta home, agents seized computers and other media containing 26,000 pornographic pictures and 55 movie files depicting children, the spokesman said. Jelaca was charged with attempted distribution of child pornography to a minor and enticement of a minor for illegal sexual purposes.

The other suspects arrested were:

-- Alexander Scott Branson, 25, of Upland

-- Ronald Sousa, 67, of Cathedral City

-- Bolivar Arnoldo Guillen, 59, of Rancho Cucamonga

-- Ronald R. Jaenson, 66, of Colton

-- John Anthony Serrano, 37, of Barstow

-- Anthony Starkweather, 20 of Mentone

All were charged with possessing child pornography; Sousa, Serrano and Starkweather were also charged with distributing it. A ninth man, Enrique Garcia, 26, of Hemet, was arrested earlier this week and charged with distributing child pornography.

If convicted of distributing child pornography, the defendants face sentences of five to 20 years in federal prison. Possessing child pornography carries up to a 10-year federal prison term.

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 -- Gale Holland

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