WASHINGTON -- Fourteen valley men have been arrested on suspicion of child pornography and three children believed to be victims have been rescued in the Fresno County area as part of an international investigation, authorities reported last week.
One man is accused of child porn involving a 7-year-old disabled girl and another man has been charged with having more than 1 million still images and thousands of videos of minors in sexually explicit situations.
The arrests, part of a sweeping international crackdown, were made over a five-week period starting Nov. 1. In total, 245 people were arrested in the United States and other countries and 44 children were rescued, federal officials in Washington, D.C., said Thursday.
In Fresno, Mike Prado, resident agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, said federal, state and local agencies worked together on cases here.
Among the Fresno cases was the rescue of the 7-year-old disabled girl and the arrest of 26-year-old Bradley Vaine, a convicted sex offender. The girl was living with Vaine. He was arrested Nov. 6 on federal charges of distribution and possession of child pornography.
Vaine was charged Nov. 15 in a federal indictment. He is in federal custody. He could face additional charges by the Fresno Police Department.
The international investigation, dubbed "Operation Sunflower," saved the girl from continued abuse, Prado said.
"That child's horrific pain would have gone unnoticed," he said. Prado declined to offer additional details of the case.
In another case, Samuel Gueydan, 48, of Clovis was arrested Nov. 1 after a search of his home turned up more than 1 million sexually explicit photos and thousands of videos of children, authorities said. Court records say Gueydan set up two computers to download files continuously from the Internet.
He was charged Nov. 15 in a federal indictment on suspicion of receiving and distributing child porn. He is under home confinement with supervision pending his trial.
Prado spoke at a downtown Fresno news conference where he was joined by Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan and Sheriff Margaret Mims. The Clovis and Tulare police departments also participated in the investigation.
Prado called the 14 arrests "a grim number." He said child porn is irretrievable once it reaches the Internet, harming the victims for years.
"Each time these images are viewed, the child is victimized again and again," he said.
The other area suspects charged federally are Luis Espinoza, 22, of Riverdale; and Fresno residents Robert McGrath, 76, Shane Paul Young, 42, Martin Lyle, 32, and Roy Palomera, 23.
Suspects who face state charges are Daniel Hoskins, 58, of Fresno; Marc Price, 49, of Fresno; Michael Wright, 28, of Selma; Fernando Cardenas, 22, of Fresno; Santos Reding, 48, of Goshen; Israel Mancias, 44, of Fresno; and Kenneth Cavin, 57, of Clovis.
Cavin, an attorney who specializes in family law, was one of the highest-profile suspects caught in the valley sweep. He was arrested Dec. 5. Cavin has been practicing law since 1993 and has no public record of discipline, the California Bar website shows.
John Morton, Immigration and Customs Enforcement director, said at the Washington, D.C., news conference that 123 child victims were identified during the five-week international investigation, which ended in early December. ICE and local authorities found 110 victims in 19 states; the rest were living in six other countries.
Morton declined to provide specific details about which foreign countries were involved, saying only that there were some cases in Mexico.
"We have to attack child exploitation relentlessly and together," Morton said. "It is a wrong among wrongs. We are literally defending the defenseless."