Cesar De Jesus Salgado-Maya, 25, formerly of Audubon, was among 27 defendants arrested in 2012 in “Operation Watchdog,” a multi-agency investigation led by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice that targeted offenders who distributed known images and videos of child pornography on the Internet.
He pleaded guilty on April 17 to a charge of second-degree offering child pornography. He must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.
Salgado-Maya admitted that he knowingly used Internet file sharing software to make multiple video files containing child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a designated “shared folder” on his laptop computer.
At the time of his crime, he was living in a second-floor apartment above a day care center in Audubon.
He was a Mexican national living in the country illegally, so he was held without bail after his arrest on a federal detainer on March 1, 2012.
“The fact that this defendant lived above a day care center and was sharing videos online of children being sexually exploited is very alarming,” Hoffman said. “It’s fortunate that we were able to put him behind bars, because viewing these vile materials often goes hand-in-hand with other deviant behavior and predatory acts against children.”
Salgado-Maya was charged in Operation Watchdog, a multi-agency investigation in which one woman and 26 men were arrested in March and April of 2012 on charges of distribution and possession of child pornography. The Digital Technology Investigation Unit of the New Jersey State Police coordinated the investigation, which also involved the Division of Criminal Justice and 19 other law enforcement agencies.
Detectives linked all of the defendants to alleged use of the Internet to download and distribute images of child pornography. Peer to Peer, or P2P, file sharing networks play a major role in the distribution of child pornography. There is a large library of images and videos known to law enforcement, and these electronic files can be traced in various ways on the Internet. Detectives involved in Operation Watchdog tracked transferred files to their origin and destination locations.
“Through these operations, conducted with the State Police and federal partners, we are patrolling the Internet to identify predators who harm children, either by viewing child pornography and re-victimizing the children who were abused to create it, or by targeting other children for sexual abuse,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig said. “We urge anyone with information about sexual predators to alert authorities.”
All of the New Jersey agencies that partnered in Operation Watchdog are members of the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). Additionally, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI assisted with the investigation and execution of warrants.
Anyone with potential information about persons sharing child pornography online, communicating inappropriately with children, or otherwise preying on children is asked to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 1-888-648-6007.