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Southland men held in child porn probe

Times Staff Writer

Seven Southern California men were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of possessing child pornography, following an eight-month investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The investigation led to charges being filed against 52 people who allegedly possessed or produced child pornography using peer-to-peer computer networks to exchange the graphic images and videos.

Some of those charged included attorneys, a law enforcement officer and men with previous child porn-related convictions.

“The evidence is horrific,” said U.S. Atty. Thomas O’Brien at a news conference in Los Angeles.

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The suspects are from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. If convicted of the maximum charges for possession of child pornography, each defendant could face up to 10 years in federal prison. Those with a previous conviction could face a minimum of 10 years.

Those charged include Gary Samuel Cochran, 50, of Huntington Beach, previously convicted of child molestation and possession of obscene materials depicting children engaged in sex acts; Evan Craig Stephens, 36, of Upland, a registered sex offender; George Tyler Farmer, 39, of Oxnard, previously convicted of molesting a 6-year-old child; and Eric David Lacey, 48, of Hollywood.

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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