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Child Exploitation

Ala. man sentenced to more than 16 years for child sex offenses

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — An Alabama man was sentenced Friday to 200 months in federal prison for multiple child sex offenses, including use of a facility of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, interstate travel for illicit sexual conduct and production of child pornography. The sentenced resulted from an investigation by the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Tallahassee Police Department and the Leon County Sherriff's Office. The Covington County Sheriff's Office in Alabama assisted with the investigation.

In addition to his prison sentence, David Daniel Hicks Jr., 42, of Andalusia, Ala., must serve a lifetime term of supervised release and register as a sex offender.

Law enforcement officers arrested Hicks April 12 after he traveled from Andalusia to Tallahassee to have sex with what he thought was a 14-year-old boy. His arrest was part of a larger undercover investigation conducted by a coalition of law enforcement agencies. Following the arrest, investigators served a search warrant at Hicks' Alabama residence and found tens of thousands of images of child pornography, including five computer videos of Hicks performing sexual acts on an adolescent male. Law enforcement seized the camera used to create these videos at his residence.

Hicks entered guilty pleas to all charges against him. Hicks also agreed to forfeit the electronic devices and electronic media that were seized as the result of the search warrant.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.