BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Cops snared 55 Massachusetts men in a sweeping, multi-agency child pornography crackdown — including a Transportation Security Administration officer assigned to Logan International Airport who is just the latest embarrassment for the troubled federal agency.
TSA agent Jose E. Salgado, 59, of Chelsea was suspended from his job after his employers learned that local law enforcement agencies are pursuing criminal charges against him for the possession and sharing of pornographic images of children.
“TSA has been cooperating fully with our law enforcement partners during the investigation into this matter,” TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said. “Upon learning of these charges, TSA took immediate action and the individual is not working at the airport.”
Periodic arrests of TSA agents on sex charges across the nation have fueled criticism of the agency’s screening of its own employees, tasked with patting down the traveling public and keeping the airways safe. At least two other TSA officers assigned to Logan have faced sex charges in the past two years. Sex charges against others have been reported in Virginia, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia and other states.
Salgado could not be reached for comment last night. He has been charged but was not arrested. His name surfaced hours after representatives of more than 20 Bay State police departments announced the arrest of 32 men in Operation Corral, a weeklong roundup of child pornography suspects across the state.
“This is just a drop in the bucket,” said state police Sgt. Michael Hill of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Suspects were targeted in East Boston, Hyde Park, Revere, Dedham, Arlington, Brockton, Lowell, Worcester, New Bedford, Haverhill, Marblehead, Natick, Middleboro, Scituate, Taunton, South Harwich, North Attleboro, Milford, Seekonk, Somerset, Oak Bluffs, Oxford, Amesbury, Belchertown, Granby and Stockbridge. Authorities say they are now pursuing criminal complaints in eight more cases, and 14 more investigations are ongoing.
“We’re going to be doing this for a long time,” Hill said.
Operation Corral kicked off in January, when representatives of local, state and federal agencies began digging into computer-based file exchange networks, once used for sharing music, but now used to exchange illegal photos and videos. Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of the Boston field office of Homeland Security Investigations, said trained computer investigators tracked the accused by following their digital footprints.
“A lot of times the criminals don’t even realize they left things behind,” he said.