Friday, April 9 the Unites States Marshals announced the results of 'Operation Not Forgotten' in Maryland.
Over 60-days, the Marshals worked with local, state, and federal organizations in order to recover 18 children that had previously been reported missing. An additional 11 children returned themselves to their legal guardians during the operation.
In total, the Marshals report that the operation located an additional 102 children that had previously been reported missing and confirmed that they were with their rightful guardians. At the end of the operation 131 missing child cases had been closed.
“Children are a blessing and are America’s future leaders. We must always protect their innocence and defend them from physical and sexual abuse by predators and unscrupulous individuals,” U.S. Marshal Johnny L. Hughes of the District of Maryland said in the press release.
On that same day the Howard County Police Department, also in Maryland, issued a news release announcing that since July 2020 they had arrested and charged 11 individuals with charges related to child pornography.
The charges resulted from tips that had been called into the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Maryland Internet Crimes Against children Task Force which led to the execution of 23 residential search warrants and the seizure of more than 160 electronic devices.
Three of the 11 people charged were juveniles between the ages of 14 and 17 who were each charged with a single count of possession of child pornography.
The others charged are:
• Taylor Richard Allen, 28, of Linden Linthicum Lane in Clarksville, indicted on 10 counts of possession of child pornography
• Nicholas David Gehringer, 30, of Sharp Road in Glenwood, indicted on nine counts of possession of child pornography
• Hayk Manukyan, 21, of Durant Avenue in Laurel, indicted on three counts of distributing child pornography and four counts of possession of child pornography
• Parker Greer Michael Matta, 19, of Boones Lane in Ellicott City, indicted on one count of possession of child pornography
• Saige Noel Penrod, 19, of Paul Martin Drive in Elkridge, indicted on five counts of possession of child pornography
• Anthony Joseph Ross, 31, of Bronze Bell Circle in Columbia, charged with five counts of possession of child pornography
• Tucker Nathaniel Testoff, 20, of Elko Drive in Ellicott City, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and sentenced to five years of probation
• Jawad Hyder Wagan, 33, of Tamar Drive in Columbia, indicted on four counts of possession of child pornography
“The sexual abuse of children that’s often portrayed in child pornography is one of the most unconscionable violations of trust imaginable,” said Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson in the press release. “Prosecuting the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes is one of our highest priorities and we will work in tandem with our law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice.”
According to HCPD, Maryland State Police have seen a 67% increase statewide of tips concerning the online sexual exploitation of children in 2020 compared to 2019. In Howard County alone 727 tips were reportedly sent in in 2020 compared to 196 in 2019.