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Four From Bergen, Passaic Charged In Statewide Child Porn Sweep

Clockwise (from top left): Jeffrey Mace, Alfredo Vincente, Hector Romero, Jared Allen
Clockwise (from top left): Jeffrey Mace, Alfredo Vincente, Hector Romero, Jared Allen Photo Credit: COURTESY: NJ Attorney General

Two men from Bergen County and two from Passaic County were among 40 charged by state authorities -- one in every county -- with trafficking in child pornography, authorities announced Thursday.

Daily Voice previously wrote about Alfredo Vincente, 60, of Edgewater, who was taken into custody on July 21 by detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office after authorities said they found him downloading and sharing "images and videos depicting child exploitation."

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino on Thursday identified others arrested the past several months as part of a six-month operation dubbed "Operation Statewide."

They included:

  • Jeffrey Mace, 32, of North Arlington, who was arrested by New Jersey State Police on July 12;
  • Hector Romero, 20, of Clifton, who was arrested by Passaic County Prosecutor’s detectives on May 12;
  • Jared Allen, 27, of Wayne, who also was arrested by county detectives on June 16.

Those arrested were from 20 to 72 years old. They include a former teacher, an accountant, factory and construction workers, salesmen, food service workers -- a public school custodian.

Several others are unemployed. Two are illegal aliens, authorities said.

All were charged with child pornography possession and distribution -- in short: trafficking.

Several computers seized during the roundup had more than 1,000 juvenile pornographic images and videos each stored on them, Porrino said.

One had more than 76,000 files, he said.

The Operation Statewide law enforcement team, led by New Jersey State Police detectives, "followed the digital fingerprint of known images of child porn as they were being sent and received over file sharing networks to specific computers," the attorney general said.

"Internet addresses were traced to street addresses and detectives from partnering agencies knocked on the doors of many surprised defendants, one of whom was in the process of downloading child porn images," he said.

“These offenders, by their actions, contribute in a very real and direct way to the cruel exploitation of innocent children, and that is why we remain tireless in our efforts to protect children by locking up these criminals,” Porrino said.

“This type of operation is nothing new, yet people continue to ignore the arrests and seek this depraved material regardless of the impact to the children it victimizes, or to society at large,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, the State Police superintendent.

“It’s widely accepted that a percentage of those obtaining child porn will be involved at some point in the sexual assault of children, so these arrests may actually prevent the abuse of some future victims,” Fuentes emphasized.

Three years ago, Governor Christie signed a bill into law that increased prison time for child porn convicts based on the number of images found.

Those who distribute 25 or more get an automatic five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence before they can be eligible for parole.

"The new law also creates a presumption of imprisonment for defendants convicted of possessing 100 or more items of child pornography, making state prison a near certainty even for some first-time offenders charged in this investigation," Porrino noted.

Of those busted in "Operation Statewide," nine were charged with distributing 25 or more images.

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