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Area man arrested on child porn charges

BRADENTON — Bradenton police have arrested a man in possession of child pornography, the first case made by detectives as part of the efforts of the statewide CyberCrime Task Force.

Officers with the Bradenton Police Department and the Florida Attorney General’s Office arrested Roberto Manzanero, 24, at 5 p.m. Thursday on 20 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promoting the sexual performance of a child. During a routine investigation by the task force, investigators located child porn images that were traced back to Manzanero’s computer.

In July 2008, Attorney General Bill McCollum created the task force, allowing investigators with the Attorney General’s Office in Tallahassee to team up with officers from local agencies to police the Web to combat the dissemination of child porn.

The task force has made 211 arrests statewide, 110 by the Attorney General’s Office and 101 through inter-agency investigations, according to the attorney general’s spokeswoman Sandi Copes.

Copes said the dissemination of child porn in Florida is extensive — the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that the state ranks in the top 10 for volume of child porn.

Several law enforcement departments across the state have investigators from their agencies participating in the task force. The nuts and bolts of how the task force polices the Internet is confidential, Bradenton police said Friday.

But computer policing operations at the Bradenton Police Department will continue, because the belief is that there are more people like Manzanero in Manatee, Bradenton Police Deputy Chief William Tokajer said.

“His arrest proves there is a need for these kind of operations,” he said. “This kind of activity is ongoing and we will have zero tolerance. We are going to continue to invest time in this to catch similar violators.”

Manzanero admitted to possessing the images found online during the investigation, according to police.

During a search of his apartment, in the 4800 block of 51st Street West, investigators seized two computers, several CDs and computer disks.

He told police he was “trying to stop but he thinks he needs to see a psychiatrist,” according to his arrest report.

An initial forensic search of his computer revealed around 30 images of child porn, including a video file of a toddler being sexually assaulted. The victims range in age from 1 year to 13, police reports said.

Manzanero’s computer, CDs and discs will all be examined, and he may face more charges since detectives believe he had more child pornography in his possession. He was being held in the Manatee County jail on $105,000 bond.

It is not known if there are more people being investigated in the case.