Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that Pedro R. Rios, 57, of Newark was arraigned today at the Essex County Veterans Courthouse on three counts of kidnapping, five counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of hindering apprehension.
Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Deborah Freier, who is handling the case, said the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit identified Rios during an investigation into the possession, procurement and sharing of images and videos of child pornography by users of file-sharing software.
Rios is alleged to have shared, possessed and manufactured images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, both from his home at 47 Park Avenue in Newark and in his tractor-trailer, a white 2006 Freightliner Columbia.
As a result of a parallel investigation conducted by the Office’s Special Victims Unit, Rios is also alleged to have kidnapped a child when she was younger than 13 years of age for the purpose of sexually assaulting her; the sexual assaults took place in another county. He has not been charged with sexual assault at this time.
Upon learning of the investigation, Rios fled the State of New Jersey. He was captured by agents of the United States Marshal’s Service on Feb. 13, in Santa Ana, California. He was extradited back to New Jersey on Feb. 27.
Today, Rios, who was employed as a truck driver and also had a video production business that operates out of his home, made his first court appearance.
He entered a not guilty plea to all charges. He is currently being held on $725,000 bail in Hudson County.
Acting Prosecutor Murray said anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office tips line at 1-877-847-7432.
These charges are merely accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until he enters a guilty plea or is found guilty in a court of law.