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Search warrant served in connection to child porn investigation

By chirst
Sept. 27, 2012 at 4:27 a.m.
Updated Sept. 28, 2012 at 4:28 a.m.

Sgt. Daniel Simons, of  the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, removes evidence from a home in the 4200 block of Hasley Street. The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, made up primarily of sheriff's deputies and Victoria Police Department officers, found a substantial amount of child porn on a computer at the home Thursday.

The Victoria Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a search warrant Thursday morning at a home in the 4200 block of Halsey Street after learning a resident there might possess child pornography.

Officers arrested Joshua Almeida, 32, of Victoria, on charges of possession and promotion of child pornography about 9:20 p.m.

The search warrant allowed officers to search electronics, photos, videotapes and other media storage devices.

The team did uncover child porn after an initial scan of the confiscated items, said Sgt. Daniel Simons, of the Victoria County Sheriff's Office.

"During our preliminary investigation, we found that one of the computers in the home had a substantial number of images depicting child pornography," Simons said.

Simons said the team would continue to process the data for additional information.

The task force, originally created to run during the summer months when kids were out of school, continued operating because they had uncovered so many potential cases.

"It is a greater problem than I had hoped we would have," Simons said. "My hope was that it would be almost a non-issue in Victoria ... So is it a greater problem than we expected? I believe so, yes."

Additional cases could be pending, Simons said.

Made up of Victoria County Sheriff's Office deputies and Victoria police officers, the task force arrested four local men over the summer. Prosecutors charged them with online solicitation of a minor or possession of child pornography.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer also assisted with the search warrant Thursday.

In addition, the Victoria task force also arrested four out-of-state men who police say were in contact with Crossroads children - from Utah, Pennsylvania, Florida and West Virginia.

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