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Attorney General’s Child Predator Section makes 500th arrest since 2013

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Stahle

Suspects arrested in Philadelphia, Bradford and York charged with distribution and possession of child pornography

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane’s office today announced the arrest of three men charged with distributing child pornography on the Internet.

With these arrests, the Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section has now made 500 arrests since Attorney General Kane took office.

“The Child Predator Section has made a tremendous impact throughout Pennsylvania by apprehending sexual predators who have exploited children and other predators who have attempted to lure children into their grasp,” Attorney General Kane said. “Every day this work challenges our dedicated agents, attorneys and analysts, but they have an unwavering commitment to protect our children. We will use the resources at our disposal to apprehend and prosecute predators lurking in our communities.”

Attorney General Kane at the outset of her administration requested and received funding from the state legislature to create a state-of-the-art facility with agents and attorneys devoted solely to identifying, arresting and prosecuting child predators. The passage of a new law granting law enforcement agents administrative subpoena power of Internet subscriber information has also aided the Child Predator Section in rooting out child predators.

The Child Predator Section made 19 arrests the year before Attorney General Kane took office. It made 114 arrests in 2013, 167 arrests in 2014 and 158 arrests in 2015. The Section is responsible for 61 arrests so far this year.

The latest arrests were made in recent days in Philadelphia, McKean County and York County. Below is a list of the defendants:

  • Mohamed Ali Dridi, 34, 1032 S. 57th St., Philadelphia.
  • Joseph Michael Smith, 37, 156 Minard Run Road, Bradford, McKean County,
  • Benjamin Stahle, 26, 70 Locust Grove Road, York, York County.

Dridi charges

Dridi

Dridi

During an online investigation, agents with the Child Predator Section reported finding a device that was disseminating suspected child pornography. Further investigation led agents to Dridi’s home, where they executed a court-approved search warrant.

Multiple electronic devices were seized at the scene. A preliminary review of the devices by the Attorney General’s Computer Forensics Unit showed multiple images of suspected child pornography. The devices will undergo further analysis as part of an ongoing investigation.

Dridi is charged with 16 counts of possession of child pornography and one count each of distribution of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility. Dridi is behind held in lieu of $150,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 12.

Dridi will be prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo of the Child Predator Section.

Smith charges

Smith

Smith

As part of an online investigation, agents with the Child Predator Section found a device sharing suspected images of child pornography. Further investigation led agents and officials from the Bradford Township Police Department to execute a search warrant at Smith’s residence.

The search led to the discovery of a computer that was examined by the Attorney General’s Computer Forensics Unit. A preliminary review of the device showed multiple images of suspected child pornography. The computer will be further analyzed as part of an ongoing investigation.

Smith is charged with 11 counts each of distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography, as well as one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He is being held in the McKean County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8.

Attorney General Kane thanked the Bradford Township Police Department for its assistance with this arrest.

Smith will be prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Jessel A. Costa III of the Child Predator Section.

Stahle charges

Stahle

Stahle

Agents with the Child Predator Section were conducting an online investigation when they found files on a file sharing network that contained suspected images of child pornography. Further investigation led agents to obtain a search warrant for Stahle’s residence.

A computer that was seized during the execution of the warrant was examined by the Attorney General’s Computer Forensics Unit. The examination showed multiple images of suspected child pornography. The computer will be further analyzed as part of an ongoing investigation.

Stahle is charged with 25 counts of possession of child pornography, six counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He was released from custody after a bondsman posted a surety bond on his behalf. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 11.

Stahle will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Christopher J. Jones of the Child Predator Section.

Reporting Child Predators

Suspected child predators can be reported to the Office of Attorney General by calling the Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044. Individuals who suspect an online predator or child sexual abuse can also send an anonymous tip to the office by texting PAKIDS + YOUR TIP to 847411.

 

SOURCE: Attorney General’s Press Office