More Charges in Horrific Child Porn Case

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal prosecutors say that a California man now faces charges in connection an alleged international conspiracy to commit horrific crimes against children that has already resulted in charges for a Kansas City-area man.

According to authorities, Jason Scarcello, 42, of Anderson, Calif., was taken into custody Wednesday morning at his home by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Scarcello was arrested on probable cause after HSI agents executed a federal search warrant at his residence and discovered computers and computer storage devices containing sexually explicit images and videos of children.

According to court documents, prosecutors say that Scarcello had computer chats with 38-year-old Michael Arnett of Roeland Park, Kansas, where they allegedly talked about the abduction, murder torture and cannibalism of children.

Related: Police: Male Duo Planned to Kidnap, Rape and Eat Kids

“The images and other details we’ve uncovered during the course of this far-reaching probe are, without question, some of the most profoundly disturbing evidence we’ve ever encountered in a child sexual exploitation case,” said HSI agent Clark Settles in a statement. “We are still aggressively investigating whether any of the suspects ever actually acted on their unspeakable dialogues and we urge the public to contact HSI or local authorities if they have any information that may be relevant to our efforts.”

Ronald Brown, 57, along with Arnett, was charged with conspiracy in the case. Agents say they seized Brown’s computer and that they tracked online conversations between Arnett and Brown on Yahoo about “kidnapping kids and eating them.”

Federal agents also say they seized multiple, disturbing pictures from Brown’s Florida home, including pictures of children in bondage positions and pictures of dead children. In May, investigators confiscated a photo of a naked toddler, in a roasting pan, from Michael Arnett’s Roeland Park home.

Authorities say that the charges are part of a larger anti-child porn operation called Operation Holitna, an ongoing HSI-led investigation that originated in Boston. In 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and HSI Boston arrested Robert Diduca on child pornography production charges.

He was convicted and subsequently sentenced in June 2012.

Forensic analysis of Diduca’s computer led investigators to the Netherlands where a Dutch national was arrested and charged with production, distribution, and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual assault of 87 minors.

According to federal authorities, to date more 140 children have been rescued and 42 perpetrators arrested worldwide — including Scarcello, Brown and Arnett — as a result of Operation Holitna.

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