Monday, March 10, 2014

Former Court Officer Alberto Yard Pleads Guilty to Sexually Exploiting Children

A former court officer has pleaded guilty to conspiring to sexually exploit children.

Prior to his arrest, Alberto Yard had worked in Brooklyn Civil Court for more than 19 years. After pleading to the felony on Thursday before Eastern District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, he now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years incarceration. Sentencing was scheduled for July 10.

Yard, 45, was arrested in July, following a Google alert to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a user account that had uploaded 213 images of child pornography. The account was traced to Yard.

Many images depicted child pornography, but the account also contained "voyeuristic photographs of children." According to an arrest complaint, Yard told authorities he took pictures of children while on duty as an officer (NYLJ, July, 5, 2013).

After inspecting electronic equipment seized at Yard's residence, he was also charged with production of child pornography (NYLJ, July 15, 2013). Authorities ultimately determined Yard possessed thousands of images. He also has a co-defendant in the matter; her case is pending.

Yard was suspended without pay after his arrest. His attorney, Deveraux Cannick of Aiello Cannick in Queens, said his client opted to resign from his job early in the case. Cannick said Yard wanted any children connected to the case to avoid the experience of a trial and said his client, by pleading guilty, was "stepping up and acknowledging the wrong he committed."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Gandy handled the prosecution.

Fifty Police Officers in the UK Arrested for Child Porn

Fifty police officers across the UK have been arrested as part of a crackdown on suspected pedophiles who pay to access child pornography websites, detectives revealed today.

The officers were among 1,300 people arrested on suspicion of accessing or downloading indecent images of children - some as young as five - from US-based Internet sites.

Thirty-five men were arrested in London this morning as part of the investigation - codenamed Operation Ore - following raids on 45 addresses across the capital.

Of the 50 policemen identified, eight have been charged to date and the remainder bailed pending further inquiries. Scotland Yard said none of those arrested today was a policeman.

At a press conference at Scotland Yard today, Jim Gamble, assistant chief constable of the National Crime Squad, said he was not surprised at the number of police officers among the suspects.

"As police officers, we should expect to be held accountable," he said.

"Fifty police officers have been identified and we are not hiding that fact. We want you to know about that to reassure you.

"Police officers are member of the communities that they serve and there will be good people and bad people in the police."

Mr Gamble said the 50 officers were among 1,200 Britons who had been identified as "category one or two" suspects - those who posed the greatest potential risk to children.

In addition, 40 children nationwide - 28 of them in London - had been identified as being at risk of being abused and appropriate steps had been taken with other agencies to ensure that all the youngsters were safe.

Before today's arrests, the Metropolitan Police had executed 75 warrants across the capital with 65 arrests and more than 130 computers seized.

Although 7,000 suspected users of "pay-per-view" child pornography sites based in the US were identified in Britain, Mr Gamble said the actual number of offenders would probably be lower, partly due to duplicates.

The Met's Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Carole Howlett, said today's raids represented the single largest operation of its kind mounted so far by the force.

She added: "Our priority so far has been to identify those individuals on the list that pose the greatest threat to children now.

"But this process is on-going ... and it will continue after today, even though it is extremely resource intensive."

Ms Howlett also announced that the Home Office had agreed to allocate an extra £500,000 to support further action as part of Operation Ore.

She said the money would be used to provide extra training in computer forensics for officers across the country and to buy more equipment for analyzing computers seized.

Commenting on today's operation, children's charity NSPCC said it had been assisting the Met by responding to any emerging child protection matters.

Colin Turner, head of NSPCC's specialist investigation service, said: "The arrests send out a strong warning to those that think they can remain anonymous and escape the law by using the Internet to trade in child abuse images.

"Behind these indecent, abusive images are real children who will have suffered immense damage and trauma."

Operation Ore is the UK wing of a huge FBI operation which traced 250,000 pedophiles worldwide last year through credit card details used to pay for downloading child porn.

The names of British suspects were passed on by US investigators.

Suspects were traced through the Landslide web site - a gateway to an international collection of child pornography sites.

Thomas Reedy, who ran the web site and earned millions from it, is now serving several life sentences in the US.

Former Officer Mitchel Wright Arrested for Selling Meth

Authorities say a former Washington police officer who spent time working for the DEA was arrested for the second time in less than a year last month after his life took a dark turn and he planned to become a drug kingpin.

Mitchel J. Wright, who joined the King County Sheriff's Department in 2002, was fired last year after being accused of stealing drug evidence while working undercover for the DEA. He was arrested on Feb. 11 after selling drugs to undercover officers on separate occasions. He reportedly bragged that he'd never be caught because knew every police tactic. His hubris was his downfall.

Wright, 33, resigned last July after a cop discovered a woman injecting herself with heroin inside of a vehicle registered to Wright. She told police that she lived with Wright and worked for him as an informant, and a subsequent search of the vehicle produced drugs and drug paraphernalia.

An internal investigation revealed that Wright was giving strippers heroin and methamphetamine to persuade them to work as drug dealers for him. His ultimate goal was to dominate the area drug trade using his authority, knowledge of the underworld and access to evidence.

After being placed on administrative leave, Wright resigned. Later that month, King County deputies discovered three baggies bearing DEA case numbers inside of his old police car. Each tested positive for heroin. It's estimated that Wright seized between $36,450 and $52,490 worth of drugs during his stint with the DEA and never turned them in as evidence.

For his most recent arrest, Wright was charged with distribution of over five grams of meth and conspiracy to distribute meth. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

Officer David Garcia Arrested for DUI

A veteran Lompoc police officer was arrested for DUI early Friday morning in the city.

Officer David Garcia was off-duty when he allegedly crashed his personal vehicle into a tree on a median in the 200 block of North H Street about 12:45 Friday am.

A Lompoc officer made the arrest.

Lompoc Captain Don Deming said Sunday the investigation was turned over to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office to avoid a conflict of interest.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office will determine what charges could be filed in the case.