NEWARK, N.J. — Four Ocean County men have been arrested and charged with child pornography offenses following the conclusion of a months-long joint child pornography investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's High Tech Crime Unit (HTCU) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark field office. Details of the joint operation were announced Wednesday following its conclusion.
Antonio Hidrogo, 39, of Lakewood, was arrested March 21, following the execution of a search warrant by the Ocean County HTCU, HSI and the Lakewood police that resulted in the discovery of digital evidence indicating he allegedly downloaded graphic child pornography files using unsecured wireless access points in his neighborhood. Hidrogo currently faces state charges of distribution and possession of child pornography.
Dennis R. Hubert, 32, of Brick, was arrested April 2, following the execution of a search warrant by the Ocean County HTCU, HSI and Brick police that resulted in the discovery of several hundred child pornography videos containing images of pre-teens engaged in sexual acts on a computer in Hubert's possession. Hubert currently faces state charges of distribution and possession of child pornography. Hubert was also charged with possession of marijuana.
Anthony Racanelli, 24, of Toms River, was arrested April 9, following the execution of a search warrant by the Ocean County HTCU, HSI and Toms River police. Racanelli currently faces state charges for possession of child pornography.
Michael Garon, 25, of Manchester, was arrested April 10, following the execution of a search warrant by the Ocean County HTCU, HSI, the Ocean County SWAT Team and the Ocean County Sheriff's Department K-9 Unit that resulted in the seizure of two computers as well as two AR-15 Bushmaster rifles, steroids, oxycodone and one canister of tear gas. Garon currently faces state charges of distribution and possession of child pornography as well as two unlawful weapons possession charges.
Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Hillary Brice is prosecuting the cases on behalf of the state. The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that these defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.