SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Police executed 20 search warrants throughout Santa Clara County on Thursday in what authorities described as the largest sweep of child pornography suspects Northern California has ever seen.
Some 160 officers from 30 different law enforcement agencies participated in a series of raids dubbed Operation Chickenhawk that targeted a cluster of suspects believed to possess kiddie porn, said Sgt. Jason Dwyer, spokesman for the San Jose Police Department.
Dwyer said SWAT teams were involved in raids where the suspects had weapons registered to them or had criminal histories.
“Situations like that, you’re going to want a SWAT team or a tactical team to go through that door because we don’t know what we’re going to see on the other side,” he said.
Dwyer said the threat of a long prison term, stiff criminal penalties and the stigma of the crime all make it more likely the suspect will not go into custody peacefully.
“They’re afraid of being exposed and they’re willing to take on the police,” he said.
So far there has been no word of any injuries during the sweeps.
Those who were arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography include 12 men arrested in San Jose, two men arrested in Santa Clara and one man arrested in Sunnyvale. Police noted that at least three of the men work in tech-related fields and one in real estate.
Yun Chen, 36, Tom Truong, 27, Valentine Hyjek, 46, Lorenzo Caliva, 22, Ismael Aragon, 53, Brandon Hellewell, 18, Davide Signorelli, 30, Luis Benavides, 29, Robert Hernandez, 32 Moises Cervantes, 36, Juan Carlos Rivera, 40, and Marlon Ivan Garcia Chavez, 32, were all arrested in San Jose, according to police.
Tony Silva, 64, and Mark Flores, 31, were arrested in Santa Clara. Robert Selvidge, 43, was arrested in Sunnyvale.
Operation Chickenhawk is part of an ongoing crackdown on child pornography in Santa Clara County. Since January, there have been more than 40 men arrested on suspicion of possessing child porn.