CLEARWATER — Employees were caught off guard when two dozen authorities arrived unannounced at Aerosonic Corp. with a search warrant in hand just after 9 a.m. Thursday.
"Everyone was wondering what was going on," said Amy Mudrey, an assistant to the CEO.
Before long, they had their answer.
James Neil Saxon Jr., an Aerosonic Corp. employee, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his workplace and faces 20 counts of child pornography possession charges. He admitted to possessing the images discovered during an investigation, Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Sandi Copes said.
Saxon, 55, of Safety Harbor, is being held at the Pinellas County Jail.
His position at Aerosonic was not known. Nor was the length of time he has worked there.
Many of the images reviewed by investigators with the Attorney General's Tampa CyberCrime Task Force and the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force contained children appearing to be as young as 5. Under the CyberCrimes Against Children Act, Saxon's charges are second-degree felonies.
According to authorities, Saxon's crimes were discovered when CyberCrime investigators located images during a routine undercover investigation. They traced the images to a computer Saxon used at Aerosonic, a company at 1212 N Hercules Ave. that manufactures aviation instrumentation and avionics equipment.
"The authorities came to us (Thursday) morning to help them identify where it was done," Aerosonic CEO Douglas Hillman said. "They were very thorough."
During the search at Aerosonic, authorities blocked both entrances to the property for a couple hours before leaving just before 1 p.m.
They seized computer equipment and will undergo additional forensic analysis in an attempt to locate any additional images of child pornography, Copes said.
Saxon's home also was searched Thursday.
"The management and staff of Aerosonic Corporation cooperated with the investigation fully," Copes said.
By early Thursday afternoon, things were once again calm at Aerosonic.
"It's back to business," Hillman said.
Keith Niebuhr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4156.