Authorities arrested six men Thursday — including one from Scottsdale — and they plan to recommend charges for four juveniles after an investigation revealed a dozen people were exchanging child pornography over the Internet.
Donald Eugene Benaglio, 33, of Scottsdale was arrested on suspicion of serious and dangerous crimes against children. He is being held in Maricopa County’s Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix.
Other men arrested in connection with the case were Jeffery Gascoyne and Miguel Arroyo of Phoenix, Charles Ault of Avondale and West Valley residents Benjamin Pratt and Jacob Gilmour.
Investigators said they also plan to arrest two more men, including a Gilbert resident.
The child pornography included videos and images of infants and toddlers as well as teenagers involved in sex acts, according to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.
At least 10 “prosecutable” images were retrieved off at least 25 computers that were seized from the residences of those arrested when 16 search warrants were executed last month, Arpaio and Goddard announced during a new conference Thursday.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Arpaio said. “We’re talking about infants to 5-year- olds, teenagers, all types of children. There are perverts who have no decency when it comes to exploiting children.”
The sheriff’s high-technology crimes unit initially began an investigation into sexual predators two months ago, but later focused its efforts into the transmitting and possession of child pornography, according to Arpaio.
The child pornography was acquired by the men and juveniles through a process called “peer-to-peer file sharing,” that involves people sharing and networking information of similar interests, said Lt. Russ Skinner of the sheriff’s Computer Crimes Division. Those arrested were not selling the pornography, but transmitting it, Arpaio said.