Half of the 10 San Mateo County men arrested in a child pornography sting last week appeared in court on their respective charges and all but one pleaded not guilty.
Paul Michael Ambler, 58, of San Mateo, pleaded not guilty and did not waive his right to a speedy trial. He returns to court April 5 and is free from custody on a $25,000 bail bond.
Gordon Lee, 54, of Daly City, pleaded not guilty and returns to court on April 5. He posted a $10,000 bail bond.
Charles Vela Reyes Jr., 46, of Menlo Park, delayed entering a plea until April 2 and remains in custody in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Christopher Daniel Winans, 24, of East Palo Alto pleaded not guilty and returns to court April 6 for a preliminary hearing. He is free on a $10,000 bail bond.
The remaining suspects bailed out after their March 22 arrest and will appear in court at the end of April. They are Paul Tazbaz, 36; Samnang Chun, 23, both of San Mateo; Steve Wilson, 52, and Cruz-Martin Caseiro-Rosas, 32, both of South San Francisco; and Stephen Wolf, 64, of Portola Valley.
The 10 men were identified as possibly being in possession of child pornography during a Silicon Valley ICAC Task Force investigation which is headed by the San Jose Police Department. The task force targets peer-to-peer file sharing online by tracking images of pre-pubescent children through individual Internet protocol addresses. The police then searched the homes where those addressed originated.
Images and videos of prepubescent boys and girls engaged in sexual acts were found on a computer in Lee’s residence and evidence showed he both downloaded and shared them, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Authorities looked at Ambler after Microsoft received a cybertip in October 2010 about child pornography being accessed from his IP address, prosecutors said. A search of his home allegedly returned images and videos of children between the ages of 6 and 15 in various sexual acts and some of the pornography came from as far away as the United Kingdom. Authorities reported also finding numerous emails related to trading or forwarding the images, too.
Reyes’ laptop computer had child pornography on it and the download dates coincided with the times he had custody of his 8-year-old child during his ex-wife’s business trips, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
A similar cybertip also led detectives to Winans’ East Palo Alto residence.