A Bellmore man was arrested on Wednesday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and charged with possession of child pornography. The arrest was announced by HSI Special Agent in Charge James Hayes Jr. and U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of New York’s Eastern District.
Alfonse Marino, 63, allegedly downloaded videos of child pornography on his computer seized by HSI agents, according to officials.
“Marino allegedly hid behind the proverbial blue computer screen for almost 10 years. Our investigation has terminated his alleged addiction to child pornography,” said Hayes. “Those who think they can engage in these kinds of heinous activities and escape justice by hiding in cyberspace should be forewarned that HSI has the tools and experts at its disposal to protect our children from those who seek to sexually exploit them."
According to the complaint, Marino downloaded child pornography via peer-to-peer programs, saved the images on computer disks and stored them in a safe. A preliminary computer forensic examination of a computer in Marino’s home revealed a number of video files of apparent child pornography involving prepubescent Asian girls.
The investigation began in March 2012 after HSI special agents with the Child Exploitation Group discovered a publicly accessible website used to send and receive child pornography over the Internet. The investigation revealed the Internet protocol address was subscribed to Marino.
Marino admitted to collecting child pornography for the past 10 years, officials said. He allegedly used a particular peer-to-peer file-sharing network and looked for children ages 7 to 18 years old.
Special agents also found a loaded .38 caliber handgun and a .22 caliber semi-automatic Beretta handgun in Marino’s home.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode is in charge of the prosecution.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. The hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.