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Maryland police on Friday arrested 11 people in connection to child pornography-related crimes.

Howard County police detectives, in coordination with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, have conducted 23 residential searches and seized more than 160 digital devices since July 2020.

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“These cases are complex and require meticulous police work to identify suspects and collect evidence,” Howard County Police Chief Lisa Myers said in a Friday statement. “I want to recognize our excellent team of detectives who have worked tirelessly to execute search warrants and have had to review thousands of disturbing images and videos to bring charges against these suspects.”

Police arrested and charged 11 people, including three minors, after they were collectively found in possession of “thousands” of suspected child pornography images and videos. They are:

  • Taylor Richard Allen, 28, of Clarksville, Maryland; 10 counts of possession of child pornography
  • Nicholas David Gehringer, 30, of Glenwood; nine counts of possession of child pornography
  • Hayk Manukyan, 21, of Laurel; three counts of distributing child pornography and four counts of possession of child pornography
  • Parker Greer Michael Matta, 19, of Ellicott City; one count of possession of child pornography
  • Saige Noel Penrod, 19, of Elkridge; five counts of possession of child pornography
  • Anthony Joseph Ross, 31, of Columbia; five counts of possession of child pornography
  • Tucker Nathaniel Testoff, 20, of Ellicott City; pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and sentenced to five years of probation
  • Jawad Hyder Wagan, 33, of Columbia; four counts of possession of child pornography
  • 14-year-old male of Laurel; one count of possession of child pornography
  • 16-year-old male of Laurel; one count of possession of child pornography
  • 17-year-old male of Glenelg; one count 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,” Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson said in a Friday statement. “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.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Maryland U.S. Marshal Service recovered 18 missing children as part of its two-month-long Operation Not Forgotten mission.

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“Children are a blessing and are America’s future leaders,” U.S. Marshal Johnny L. Hughes of the District of Maryland said in a statement Friday. “We must always protect their innocence and defend them from physical and sexual abuse by predators and unscrupulous individuals.”

Maryland State Police reported a 67% increase in statewide tips concerning online child sex exploitation in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Howard County Police Department. 

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Police are advising parents to encourage their children to be safe online using resources on NetSmartz. Anyone with information about possible child exploitation can send tips to the national center.

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