Joint task force leads to arrests of suspected child predators
BY GHENI PLATENBURG - GPLATENBURG@VICAD.COM
Sept. 8, 2011 at 4:08 a.m.
A joint law enforcement task force has resulted in the arrest of two people on child pornography charges.
Damian Rodriguez, 36, of Victoria, and Danny Boyd Cooke, of West Virginia, are two of the most recent arrests made as a result of the investigative work of the Victoria Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The local task force, which began operating in July, is comprised of members of the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, the Victoria Police Department, the Victoria County District Attorney's Office and Texas Ranger Drew Pilkington.
"There's really no safe social site on the Internet. The best way to ensure your child's safety on the Internet is to closely supervise them," said Michael Beyer, a lieutenant with the police department's special assignments unit. "There are child predators out there."
Although the local task force kicked off a few months ago, members began attending training for it about a year ago.
The Victoria task force works closely with similar task forces in Houston and Corpus Christi, said Beyer.
So far, five search warrants have been issued and four arrests have been made as a result of the task force's efforts.
Rodriguez was arrested in July on suspicion of possession of child pornography, while Cooke was arrested about three weeks ago by West Virginia authorities on suspicion of online solicitation of a minor.
Cooke is charged with sending inappropriate video images to someone in Victoria that led the local task force to belive that a child in West Virginia could have been in danger, said Beyer.
"We don't want (child predators) functioning freely in our jurisdiction," said Beyer. " If you are engaging in violating the law with child pornography or something like that, we'll try our best to catch you and bring you to justice."