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Child porn sweep nets three locals

LAWRENCEVILLE -- In a statewide sweep for Internet child pornography distributors on Tuesday, three Gwinnett residents found themselves caught in the net of state and federal authorities.

Gwinnett police spokesman Officer Brian Kelly said his agency participated in, or led, three search warrants in conjunction with the widespread operation, known as Operation Restore Hope.

A fourth suspect was being questioned Wednesday.

Local manpower included forensic computer specialists, members of the special victim's unit and detectives trained in Internet Crimes Against Children.

Twenty-five year old Lawrenceville resident Jonathan Gerstemeier is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a child. According to an arrest warrant, Gerstemeier possessed a personal laptop containing images of children under age 16 performing sexual acts.

"The investigation of him and forensic review of his computer continues and additional charges may be forthcoming," Kelly said.

Gerstemeier posted $11,200 bond Wednesday morning and was released from the Gwinnett County Jail.

Federal authorities arrested two other men -- Kevin Colato-Sosa, 18, and Andrew Lee Roberts, 24, both of Snellville -- in separate cases. Both possessed child pornography on personal computers, according to arrest warrants.

Roberts posted $11,200 bond Wednesday while Colato-Sosa was being held for immigration authorities, records show.

Search warrants were executed in 34 counties across Georgia, authorities said, after a three-month investigation coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the ICAC Task Force.

The task force, created by the U.S. Department of Justice and housed within the GBI, was developed in response to the "increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims," according to a GBI release.

Its mission is to support state and local law enforcement agencies effectively respond to cyber enticement and child pornography cases.

The number of arrests, statewide, in this operation is unclear.

Overall, the ICAC Task Force had made 149 arrests through November 2009, up from 109 in 2008 and 103 in 2007.