The investigation was conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the East Central Illinois Cyber Crimes Working Group, and the Illinois police departments of Champaign, Urbana and Decatur.
Indictments were returned against the following Illinois defendants: Erik Barthelemy, 27, of Champaign; Danny L. Smith, of Georgetown; and Dustin R. Underwood, 19, of Clinton. The men, previously charged by criminal complaint, have each been charged in separate cases with distributing and possessing child pornography.
Barthelemy was arrested Sept. 10 and was ordered to remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS). The indictment returned Oct. 5 charges Barthelemy with two counts of distributing child pornography in October 2011, and one count of possessing child pornography Sept. 10, 2012.
Smith was arrested Sept. 11 and ordered to remain detained in USMS custody. The indictment returned Oct. 5 charges Smith with three counts of distributing child pornography in May and July 2012, and one count of possessing child pornography in September 2012.
Underwood is charged with three counts of distributing child pornography in February and March 2012, and one count of possessing child pornography in August 2012. The indictment against Underwood was returned by a federal grand jury Sept. 19. Underwood was arrested Aug. 28 and charged by federal criminal complaint. He was ordered to remain in USMS custody; his trial is scheduled for Nov. 26, 2012.
If convicted, the statutory penalty for each count of distributing child pornography is a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, up to 20 years in prison, and up to a lifetime of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. If a defendant has a prior child sex abuse or child pornography conviction, the statutory penalty is a minimum of 15 years and up to 40 years in prison. The penalty for possessing child pornography is up to 10 years in prison.
Each indictment seeks forfeiture of computers and related materials allegedly used to commit or promote the offenses.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.