Investigators with the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force recently participated in Operation Broken Heart, a nationwide effort to investigate technology facilitated crimes against children, including those who receive and distribute child pornography. Throughout April and May, the team conducted investigations of subjects who distributed child pornography over the internet and focused on individuals traveling to Contra Costa County to meet minors to engage in sexual activity.
In addition to the proactive investigations the ICAC team participated in, a significant school outreach program was also undertaken to teach parents and student about the risks associated with smartphones and social media. During the last year, investigators and prosecutors delivered presentations at multiple schools and community organizations, reaching thousands of parents, students and educators.
Some notable arrests and investigations conducted during Operation Broken Heart include:
-On April 11, 2019, Investigators arrested Gerald Jue of Danville, California. During the investigation, investigators learned Jue was accessing the internet and searching for child pornography. Jue is a third and fourth grade teacher in the Fremont School District. When a search warrant was served at Jue’s residence, a computer was seized that contained evidence of Jue’s internet searches as well as web pages containing child pornography. Jue was indicted by a federal Grand Jury in Oakland, Ca on June 6, 2019 and arrested on June 7, 2019. He was subsequently released on bond and is awaiting trial. This case was investigated by the ICAC Task Force and the United States Secret Service.
-On May 2, 2019, investigators arrested Sonny Mitchell, a registered sex offender from Antioch, California. During the course of the two-month investigation, it was discovered that Mitchell was distributing child pornography via the Facebook Messenger platform. When a search warrant was executed at Mitchell’s residence, investigators seized a device that contained additional images of child pornography. Mitchell was indicted by a federal Grand Jury in Oakland, California on May 9, 2019 and remains in custody. This case was investigated by the ICAC Task Force and the United States Secret Service.
-On May 3, 2019, investigators arrested William Cashell of Walnut Creek, California. In April 2019, Yahoo sent tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when child pornography was found in Cashell’s e-mail account. During a warrant at Cashell’s apartment, investigators located an iPhone which was later determined to contain images of child pornography. Cashell’s is charged with one count of possession of child pornography by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. This case was investigated by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and the ICAC Task Force.
-On May 16, 2019, investigators executed a search warrant in the 2400 block of L Street in Antioch related to a child pornography possession investigation. ICAC Investigators found evidence the suspect, Henry Cordon, a 34-year-old resident of Antioch, California and formally of Orange Park, Florida, kept images of child pornography stored in his various e-mail accounts. Additionally, during the search warrant Cordon confessed to sexually assaulting a child under the age of ten in 2009 while living in Orange Park, Florida. Cordon produced at least one image of the sexual assault of that child. Cordon was indicted by a federal Grand Jury in Oakland, California on May 30, 2019 for Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography. Cordon remains in custody and is currently under investigation in both California and Florida for other offenses related to crimes against children. This case was investigated by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, the ICAC Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations.
The Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, Contra Costa County Probation Department and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force along with Special Agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service.
Parents are encouraged to discuss online safety with their children and can visit the website www.kidsmartz.org for further information. If you believe your school or community organization would benefit from a smartphone and social media awareness presentation, please contact Senior Inspector Darryl Holcombe at firstname.lastname@example.org.