Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a Union County man and a Monmouth County man were sentenced to state prison for distributing videos and images of Explicit Images of Minors online. Both men were arrested during investigations targeting individuals using an online peer-to-peer network popular with offenders who share Explicit Images of Minors.
One was arrested in “Operation Safeguard,” a Explicit Images of Minors sweep conducted last year by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the New Jersey State Police.
Each of these two men previously pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree distribution of Explicit Images of Minors (storing or maintaining Explicit Images of Minors using a file-sharing program) filed by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau:
Burt G. Harvey-Martinez, 35, of Elizabeth, was sentenced Aug. 25th, to six years in state prison, including 2 ½ years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Lisa Walsh in Union County.
William Morgan, 61, of Manalapan, was sentenced Aug. 25th, to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Richard W. English in Monmouth County. Morgan was arrested in Operation Safeguard.
Both men will be required to register as sex offenders under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
“These men joined the depraved network of criminals who directly drive the sexual exploitation and torture of children by distributing Explicit Images of Minors,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We’re making it a top priority to lock up these offenders who wantonly victimize children.”
During Operation Safeguard, special agents of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice and New Jersey State Police monitored several online file-sharing networks that are popular with offenders who download and trade Explicit Images of Minors. Using advanced technology, the investigators searched for telltale digital “fingerprints” of known Explicit Images of Minors, as well as search terms used by those who download and share Explicit Images of Minors. Through these and other methods, they identified New Jersey residents who were downloading Explicit Images of Minors and making Explicit Images of Minors available to others in “shared folders” on their computers.
Morgan was arrested on March 24, 2016, when agents and detectives conducting Operation Safeguard executed a search warrant at his residence in Manalapan. Detectives monitoring a peer-to-peer network had associated him with more than 200 files of suspected Explicit Images of Minors. During the search, detectives seized computer equipment belonging to Morgan that contained numerous files of Explicit Images of Minors, including files store in a shared folder where they were readily available for any other user to download using file-sharing software.
Harvey-Martinez was arrested on July 19, 2016 in a separate but similar investigation targeting users sharing Explicit Images of Minors on a file-sharing network. Detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice downloaded several files of Explicit Images of Minors from an IP address traced to Harvey-Martinez.
They then executed a search warrant at his residence in Elizabeth, where they seized his laptop computer, which contained numerous videos and images of Explicit Images of Minors. A forensic preview of the laptop revealed approximately 1,459 files of suspected Explicit Images of Minors in a shared folder. The Elizabeth Police Department assisted in the operation.
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig urged anyone who has information about the distribution of Explicit Images of Minors on the Internet or who suspects improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.