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Officials announce bust of major child porn sweep in Berks County

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Dec 19 2012 12:42:13 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 20 2012 06:24:57 AM CST

8 arrested in child porn sweep, 2 more sought

READING, Pa. -

Detectives had a major child porn sweep in Berks County, eight suspects are behind bars and the search is on for two more.Among their victims, four children from our area including a one-year-old.

The district attorney said all 10 men exploited children but while they are all facing similar charges, they did not work together.

Berks County detectives said they found out from the Delaware County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that 10 different men in Berks County were allegedly distributing or obtaining child porn through the Internet.

The wanted men are Brian Crimmins, David Crimmins, Cori Merklinger, Hector Perez, Hugo Blanco, Brett Correll, Reinerio Velazco-Mena, Danny Ray Evans, Christopher Mailloux and Lewis Martinez.

All of the the men except for Hugo Blanco and Brett Correll are in police custody.

"They knew what was coming so we're very confident that we'll get these other two," said Chief Detective Michael Gombar.

During the four-month investigation, police were able to seize the men's computers to search for evidence. The district attorney said what is unusual about one of these cases is that among the thousands of images investigators found four local victims.

"The ages of these victims range from 1 year old to 5 years of age," said district attorney John Adams.

Two victims are from Berks County and two others are from Chester County.

"I have been assured during our investigation and with the assistance of children and youth services these children are all safe," said Adams.

And to prevent further exploitation, detectives will not reveal how these victims were discovered.

"Hopefully, crackdowns like this will send a message that possessing images of child sexual abuse is a crime and will not be tolerated in Berks County," said Adams.

If the men are found guilty they could each face seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines. Also, they could be required to register as sex offenders.

The following men were arrested on charges of sexual abuse of children:

Brian K. Crimmins, 48, 700 block of Tamarack Trail, Shillington

David A. Crimmins, 18, 700 block of Tamarack Trail, Shillington

Cori J. Merklinger, 23, 1400 block of Friedensburg Road, Reading

Hector L. Perez, 20, 200 block of Arlington Street, Reading

Reinerio Velazco-Mena, 41, 1300 block of North 9th Street, Reading

Danny Ray Evans Jr., 26, 300 block of Pearl Street, Reading

Christopher M. Mailloux, 22, 300 block of Pearl Street, Reading

Lewis V. Martinez, 22, 900 block of Weiser Street, Reading

Two more men are still at large:

Hugo D. Blanco, 20, 1400 block of Hampden Blvd., Reading

Brett A. Correll, age 31, 1500 block off Fern Avenue, Reading