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Child Exploitation

Central Colorado man sentenced to 5 ? years in federal prison for possessing child pornography

DENVER — A Central Colorado man was sentenced Wednesday to 5 ½ years in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for possessing child pornography. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the seven-month investigation.

ICE HSI agents executed a federal search warrant at the Breckenridge, Colo., apartment of Matthew Anson Melquist, 26, in July 2011 and seized his laptop computer. A forensic analysis of the laptop revealed that Melquist possessed more than 10,000 images and videos of child pornography. Some of the children in the images were victims that had previously been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Child Victim Identification Program (NCMEC-CVIP).

Melquist was subsequently arrested on Aug. 8. He pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography on Oct. 7. He was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison on Dec. 21. Summit County Sheriff's Department assisted ICE HSI throughout this investigation.

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 or complete 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.