International Child Porn Ring Smashed, U.S. Official Says
Authorities believe they have broken up one of the largest child pornography rings in the country in a case they say shows how the illicit industry has become more technically advanced, international in scope and bold in its marketing.
A ring that used the name Overseas Male may have been selling about 500 videos a month through the mail, according to U.S. Postal Inspector David G. Fast. The tapes, depicting sex acts between adults and boys as young as 8, sold for $50 to $200 each, he said.
James Leroy Kemmish, 54, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges of selling child pornography and publishing ads and notices offering to sell it. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Thursday and was released on bail pending a trial in December.
Kemmish allegedly is part of a ring that obtained child pornography videos from Mexico, Asia and Europe and then mass-produced them for distribution out of his Pacific Beach home.
When postal inspectors raided Kemmish’s home they found hundreds of such videos, according to court documents. None of the videos are thought to have been filmed in the United States.
Fast said the ring was able to produce high-resolution videos, unlike the dark, grainy videos usually associated with child pornographers. The ring advertised its videos in brochures by mass mailings to people who had shown no previous interest in pornography, a bolder approach than used by other pornographers, he said.
“They are absolutely out of business,” Fast said. “We crunched the entire organization.”
The alleged mastermind of the ring was Troy Anthony Frank, an American and suspected child molester who had moved to Acapulco. He allegedly worked with distributors in San Francisco, Simi Valley and Agoura Hills.
Frank is believed to have committed suicide. “We’ve seen the autopsy pictures but we’re still not sure,” Fast said.
More arrests are possible, Fast said.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Barbara L. Major said Kemmish was arrested while trying to bring pornographic videos from Mexico. He also had $16,000 in cash and checks that he had not declared to U.S. Customs, which is a felony, she said.