ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A plumber from Anchorage, Alaska, pleaded not guilty in federal court to a one-count indictment charging him with possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Ronald Patrick Sehrt, 52, was arrested by ICE agents Monday as he stepped out of his vehicle at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. He had driven to the airport and was preparing to report to work there for a local plumbing company.
According to the indictment, Sehrt stored illegal images of children on a laptop at his home. ICE agents had searched that laptop in March 2010 and found 189 videos and 268 images of child pornography.
"Anytime an illicit image of an innocent child is viewed, a crime is committed," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge for ICE in Alaska. "ICE takes the responsibility of protecting children from sexual exploitation seriously and we will continue to aggressively investigate these types of cases."
Possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sehrt remains in federal custody pending a trial, which is scheduled for August 23.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operator Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com. For more information, visit www.ice.gov.