JACKSON – A 29-year-old Jackson resident and sitting member of the township’s zoning board was arrested on child pornography charges after an almost year-long investigation led by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit (OCPO HTCU).
A search warrant was approved for Anthony Marano’s home on Eucalyptus Court yesterday, Sept. 26, but after HTCU detectives tried several times to get his attention, they saw Marano move from the living room to the bedroom instead of answering the door. The detectives forced entry inside and were greeted by Marano outside the bedroom as he held a semi-automatic handgun, which was later found to be loaded.
Marano was ordered multiple times to drop his weapon before he finally complied and was restrained by detectives. A search of his residence was carried out and numerous images of child pornography were found. Because of the overwhelming evidence located at the scene, OCPO Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Hillary Bryce charged Marano with 3rd degree Aggravated Assault, 3rd degree Possession of Child Pornography and 2nd degree Distribution of Child Pornography.
The arrest stems from proactive cyber monitoring by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, which suggested that someone in Ocean County had “downloaded images of prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts.”
An investigation into Marano was launched in December 2016, but the alleged criminal activity could not be confirmed because of “covert cyber measures” set up on his computer. The HTCU continued the investigation and obtained new information from the FBI Cyber Crime Task Force regarding Marano’s criminal computer activity.
Marano is being lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending his first court hearing.