Child Porn Charges Stem From Memory-Chip Seizure

Rhett Pardon
LOS ANGELES — Four loaded memory sticks containing images of sexually explicit images was all it took for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Los Angeles International Airport to arrest a San Diego man on child porn charges.

Edilberto Datan, 60, was taken into custody earlier this month as he returned from a two-month trip to his native Philippines.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities said a review of the material on the memory sticks — three taped inside a jeans pocket in his luggage and one inside his digital camera — showed they contained about 100 sexually explicit images of what are believed to be underage Filipino boys.

The retired auditor was returning from a two-month trip to his native Philippines and later indicted on charges of child sex tourism and producing, importing and possessing child porn.

The day after his arrest, federal agents obtained a warrant to search his San Diego home, where they seized Datan’s amassed collection of child porn, including more than a dozen boxes of images of child erotica and child porn, ICE authorities say.

When ICE agents queried Datan about the images, he said the boys were part of a Filipino dance troupe that he often attended.

Datan said the boys from the troupe would come to his hostel room after their shows to visit and shower, but he denied having any inappropriate sexual contact with them.

Authorities said Datan was a volunteer at a community center in the San Diego area and also reportedly worked with troubled youths.

Datan's arrest is part of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE enforcement initiative launched last year to identify, investigate, arrest and, in the case of foreign nationals, deport child sex predators.

Two of the charges against Datan — those involving child sex tourism and producing child porn abroad — were brought under provisions of the recently passed Protect Act, ICE authorities said.

The Protect Act substantially strengthened federal laws against predatory crimes involving children outside the United States. It boosted the penalties in those types of cases and modified the burden of proof requirements for federal prosecutors to bring charges.

"One of the sad realities of these cases is that when people go to other countries to prey on poor children, they are laboring under the mistaken notion they are outside the reach of the law," U.S. Attorney Debra W. Yang said in a statement. "Any abuse of children by American citizens is a crime, and we will prosecute pedophiles to the fullest extent of the law."