"Imagine the worst of the worst and it's worse than that," said Margo Rohrbacher with the San Rafael Police Department.
The Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted raids throughout Marin County looking to catch those in possession of illegal images. Police say that those who download child porn are becoming more sophisticated in their methods to acquire the illegal pictures. "This is all done through file sharing software and so it remains anonymous," Rohrbacher explained.
However, officers are also using tools of their own to catch them in the act and to make quick arrests. "They have a methodology that they use to obtain IP addresses of computers that are downloading or sharing files and then the physical address of where that computer lives," Rohrbacher said.
Three men were arrested in the raids. One of them was a 16-year-old from Novato. Another, a 22-year-old man from Fairfax who was not only arrested on child pornography charges, but also for felony weapons violations
"I was shocked. I was ready to fall on the floor, all the neighbors," one woman said. Neighbors in the quiet community were reluctant to go on camera but all said they were shocked to see agents descend on the home in the 800 block of Penny Royal Lane. The quiet bungalow sits yards from a daycare center up the street. The homeowner, a special education school teacher, was not home at the time of the arrest and police say that she is not part of their official investigation. Instead, officers were after her roommate, 31-year-old Carlos Martinez, who they say had illegal images on his laptop.
"This is not 'Girls Gone Wild.' This is pre-pubescent children down to anywhere from infants up to maybe 8, 9, 10," Rohrbacher said.
More than a dozen agencies and 75 officers were involved in the raids. Agents planned to serve more warrants in Western Marin County Thursday evening.