Fugitive from Cutchogue finally faces judge in child porn case
A Cutchogue man who allegedly fled the country years ago amid a child pornography investigation finally faced a judge Friday in Suffolk County.
Authorities say Roberto Cardoza fled to El Salvador as police were investigating him for child pornography in 2009. Cardoza was allegedly in possession of 22 videos showing children being sexually abused.
"Let me be clear, these are videos of children being raped," says Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini. "We went forward with the case, completed the investigation, obtained an indictment and an arrest warrant for Mr. Cardoza."
Police say Cardoza was arrested at the Mexican border in Laredo, Texas in July while trying to get back into the U.S. illegally. He was extradited to Suffolk County on Thursday.
Cardoza pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing child pornography Friday in court. A judge set his bail at $150,000.
Cardoza's lawyer would not go on camera but issued a statement to News 12.
"Roberto Cardoza is an innocent man falsely accused of a crime he did not commit," the statement reads. "We intend to prove so in court."
A longtime friend of Cardoza, who spoke with News 12 by phone, also rejects the allegations and describes Cardoza as a caring man and father of a 10-year-old boy.