Los Angeles County Cyber Crimes Task Force launched its investigation six weeks ago. Investigators found computers, hard drives and iPads loaded with child pornography. Detectives described the videos and images as graphic and heinous.
"This material depicts children between the ages of one year old and 16 or so years old in the process or engaged in sex acts with adults," said Det. John Howard with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The four men who investigators say own the equipment are now behind bars accused of possession and distribution of child pornography over the Internet. One of their wives was arrested for allegedly having cocaine.
Investigators say the suspects didn't know each other but they were all part of the same online child porn network and sharing the illegal images.
"During the course of the investigation, we identified persons that possess the material and were offering it for share. And then over a period of a few days, investigators were actually able to download material from the subjects as well," said Howard.
Authorities say three of the suspects, 19-year-old Rolando Garcia of Exposition Park, 72-year-old Jon Johnson of Fullerton, and 52-year-old Gregory MacClean of Palmdale, were all using their personal computers in their alleged crimes. But detectives say 43-year-old Mario Aburto was using the computers at his work.
Authorities say so far they have found no evidence any of the suspects were involved in the actual abuse, but they have found more members of the network and are working on more arrests.
"We will continue to prosecute and go after all types of people that have this type of material," said Howard.
Detectives say the suspects were all using the same online file sharing network, one that is open to anyone who has access to the Internet. Officials say they expect the suspects to be formally charged sometime next week.