Wilmington – Attorney General Beau Biden today announced that a Child Predator Task Force investigation into the possession and distribution of child pornography has led to the arrest of three Delaware men who appear to have participated in a child pornography distribution network.
“Thanks to our strong partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the investigative resources that we have committed to our Child Predator Task Force, we’ve shut down a child pornography ring right here in our state,” Biden said. “I want to specially thank the investigators and detectives assigned to this case for their excellent work in developing and carrying out this thorough and far-reaching investigation.”
The investigation was initiated by the Child Predator Task Force after receiving a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of the distribution of child pornography in Delaware. The investigation led to the execution of a search warrant by Detectives from the Child Predator Task Force and New Castle County Police at a residence on Mark Drive, Chelsea Estates, in New Castle on December 21, 2012. During the search, multiple computers, two digital thumb drive storage devices, and other evidence were seized and a person of interest was developed. A forensic preview of the evidence discovered multiple images of child erotica and child pornography, including an image depicting two nude females approximately 10-12 years of age in a bath tub and a video of a female child changing clothes in a bedroom. Based on the evidence, detectives arrested Rogelio A. Cordero, age 55, an occupant of the Mark Drive address, and charged him with 25 counts of Dealing in Child Pornography. He was arraigned and taken to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $375,000 secured bail.
The interview with Cordero and a subsequent search of his residence led detectives to a second Delaware resident who officials suspected of trading child pornography with Cordero. As a result, a search warrant was executed at the residence of David M. Pennington, age 70, located in the 19000 block of Substation Way in Georgetown, DE. There, detectives removed multiple DVDs and other documents and questioned Pennington, a registered sex offender who is currently on probation for a 1994 conviction of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse, before releasing him pending further investigation. That ongoing investigation resulted in the execution of a search warrant of a storage facility unit on the Georgetown-Lewes Highway, Georgetown, DE, on January 8, 2013. As a result of this search and the evidence gathered through the investigation, detectives took Pennington into custody and charged him with violating his probation. Pennington was arraigned via by videophone by JP Court #2 and was taken to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.
The investigation into the activities of Cordero and Pennington led detectives to a third person of interest suspected of exchanging illicit images with Pennington. On January 8, 2013, detectives executed a search warrant at the residence of William D. Zimmerman, age 63, a registered sex offender who lives on the 300 block of N. King Street, Georgetown, DE. Detectives seized multiple computers, digital recording devices and a large amount of other digital media and a forensic preview revealed multiple images of child pornography, including a video depicting a pre-pubescent male child engaged in a sex act with an adult male. Based on the investigation, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with 25 counts of dealing in child pornography. He was arraigned via videophone by JP Court #2 and was taken to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of $500,000 secured bail.
All three defendants remain incarcerated at this time. The investigation is active and ongoing and additional charges are possible. Specifically, detectives continue to investigate the circumstances of a trip that William Zimmerman had taken out of the country with a 14 year-old child whom he had befriended. Mug shots of Cordero, Pennington, and Zimmerman are attached.
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