TACOMA, Wash. - Two men from Washington state were in federal court this week on child pornography charges stemming from "Operation Emissary," a nationwide investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into subscribers of commercial child pornography websites.
David T. Takeuchi, 38, of Vancouver, Wash., was indicted by a federal grand jury last week and pleaded "not guilty" Wednesday to one charge of possession of child pornography. Mithcell I. Blackburn, 39, of Port Angeles, Wash., pleaded "guilty" today to one charge of possession of child pornography. ICE investigations into both men revealed they were subscribers to a commercial website that offered access to videos and images of hardcore child pornography. The website alerted would-be subscribers that subscribing to the website was illegal and warned them to be discreet about their purchase.
When ICE agents searched Takeuchi's home in August 2006, they discovered more than 1,300 images of child pornography on the hard drive of his home computer. Agents also determined that Takeuchi had posted personal ads on craigslist and Yahoo!, describing himself as a single father looking to meet single mothers of young children.
Blackburn's home was also searched in August 2006 and ICE agents found more than 1,000 images of child pornography on his computer. Some of the images depicted sexually explicit images involving children under 12-years-old and at least ten of the images depicted the children being subjected to violent and sadistic sexual abuse.
"ICE will continue to aggressively use its investigative authorities to identify individuals who seek to exploit children in this manner," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge for ICE's office of investigations in Seattle. "Some predators mistakenly believe the anonymity of cyberspace shields them; in fact, the use of computers and the Internet have given ICE new tools in our enforcement efforts to protect children."
"Operation Emissary" was initiated in the New Jersey office of ICE in late 2005. More than 260 people have been arrested in 44 states.
Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. Takeuchi remains in custody pending trial scheduled for February 19, 2008. Blackburn is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on April 4, 2008.