Fallon senior accused in child-pornography sting
Fallon police arrested a senior citizen Thursday who is accused of 13 counts of possession of pornography depicting children under the age of 16. His arrest is linked to an international child pornography operation.
James Arthur Collins, 65, was taken into custody at 40 W. Fairview Street after a lengthy investigation involving U.S. postal inspectors, the FBI and the Fallon Police Department.
An FBI report included in Collins’ Churchill County Justice Court file says 124 images of child erotica and child pornography were discovered on his home computer.
His arrest is part of an international child pornography investigation that led to more than 100 searches throughout the country since ringleader Angel Mariscal, 45, was arrested in Florida in 2002, according to U.S. Postal inspectors.
“We’ve known about Collins for a long time,” U.S. Postal Inspector Brook Fuller said Friday. Fuller works in the San Francisco office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and participated in the investigation.
Fuller contacted Fallon police in February seeking help with a case involving Collins, a police report states. Fuller told local detectives that Collins ordered a video sampler in October 1999 from an ad placed in a sexually oriented magazine.
The ads were allegedly placed by Mariscal before his arrest. Once Mariscal was apprehended, undercover postal inspectors sent inventory lists of products to those listed as Mariscal’s customers, the report states. Collins was sent the list in 2002, police said.
“We discovered a huge database of people who ordered from him,” Fuller said. “We assumed (Mariscal’s) identity and stung all his customers.”
Authorities allege Collins sent a $265 money order and order form to Mariscal’s Florida company in May 2003 to purchase two compact discs. He reportedly requested the merchandise be sent to a rented mail box on West Williams Avenue.
A photocopy of the product list describes one of the discs allegedly ordered by Collins as showing “A 12-year-old cutie and her younger boyfriend…,” and explains what sex acts they perform. The second disc purports to show friends of the 12-year-old who are even younger.
Other videos offered on the list say the subjects are as young as 9 years old.
Fuller and Fallon police officers went to Collins’ home on Fairview Street Feb. 10 to question him. According to the police report, Collins said he remembered trying to order the compact discs and knew it was child pornography.
“Mr. Collins also revealed he visited child pornography sites on the Internet. He called them ‘art’ or ‘nudist’ sites,” the report states.
Collins refused to allow investigators to check his computer, the report says, and told authorities he would be erasing any evidence as soon as they left. Fallon officers got quick approval for a search warrant and served it in two hours. The computer, videotapes, compact discs and other items were seized.
The computer was examined by FBI Investigative Analyst Kelly A. Andrews, who reported she found 124 erotic or pornographic images of children.
“Due to the extensive number of jpegs located, a compact disc containing the 124 images was created for forwarding to the FBI Baltimore Innocent Images office to match and further identify known victims,” Andrews report dated April 21 states.
A warrant was issued for Collins’ arrest on Monday. He was taken into custody at 7 p.m. Thursday at his home. Bail was set at $65,000, and Collins was no longer incarcerated Friday afternoon.