A nationwide search for child pornographers culminated in the arrest of an Oregon couple, authorities announced Wednesday.
Michelle Lee Freeman, 40, and her husband Michael Serapis Freeman, 39, surrendered to local police in their hometown of Salem, Ore., after someone they know threatened to turn them in, ABC News reports.
The Freemans are accused of videotaping themselves performing sex acts with children, KTVB reports. A complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Oregon alleges that at least one of the minors in the videos is the couple’s 9-year old daughter.
According to the complaint, Michael Freeman said he traded photos and videos of the sex acts for other child porn on the Internet, saying that he initiated the practice and that “somehow” his wife became involved.
Investigators launched a nationwide search last month after videos in which a woman has sexual contact with two girls under the age of 10 were found on a computer that was obtained by the FBI in Colorado, according to ABC News.
This built on an ongoing investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Los Angeles, who had been pursuing the case since 2011, when a computer allegedly containing photos of the abused girls was seized, WTTG reported.
Since the woman in the videos was unidentified, ICE turned to the public for information. In a press conference, Homeland Security Investigation spokesperson Brad Bench said that tips began to flow in after a photo of the then-unidentified woman spread across social media, including Facebook. This information allowed law enforcement to narrow their search to the Pacific Northwest, he said.
“The general public and the media was instrumental in bringing these people to justice,” ICE spokesperson Ross Feinstein told CNN.
If convicted, the couple could each face 15 to 30 years in prison.