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Child Exploitation
09/27/2011

Convicted sex offender pleads guilty to possession of child pornography

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida man pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing images of child pornography on his cellular telephone, following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Probation Office.

Scott Brandon Heath, 34, of Jacksonville, was arrested on March 14. Heath was on federal supervised release based on a prior federal sex offense.

He faces 10 to 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and a potential life term of supervised release. He also faces an additional two years in prison based on his violation of supervised release for his previous conviction.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, on March 8, two U.S. probation officers went to Heath's residence in Jacksonville for a routine home inspection. Heath had been released from prison on Sept. 23, 2010, to begin his term of supervised release.

The probation officers met with Heath and entered his residence. When inside the bedroom area, the officers noticed a video game controller lying on Heath's bedroom floor. When Heath showed the officers his video game console, a cellular telephone was also visible inside a dresser drawer. Heath admitted that he had accessed the Internet using this cellular telephone approximately six times, and so violated the terms of his supervised release.

The officers took custody of Heath's cellular telephone. Subsequent forensic analysis revealed that it contained approximately 5,147 images of child pornography.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. 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 Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.