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Child Exploitation
03/07/2008

Fargo man pleads guilty to possessing child pornography

FARGO, N.D. - A local man pleaded guilty here Thursday to possessing and transporting child pornography. This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, District of North Dakota; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigated the case.

Chad Seeba, 38, of Fargo, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Rodney S. Webb to possessing numerous computer files containing visual depictions of minor children engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Seeba also pleaded guilty to knowingly transporting or shipping child pornography in interstate commerce. The incidents occurred from October through December 2006 in North Dakota.

The charge of possessing child pornography carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; the charge of transporting or shipping child pornography carries a minimum mandatory penalty of five years in prison, and a maximum of 20 years.

"Identifying those who sexually exploit children is one of the most important responsibilities we have," said Michael Mach, resident agent in charge of the ICE office in Grand Forks. "Unfortunately, the advent of technologies such as the Internet has increased accessibility to child pornography. But ICE is able to use these same technologies to identify and catch these predators."

Sentencing for Seeba has been scheduled for June 10 in U.S. District Court in Fargo.

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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 10,900 individuals, including more than 32 in South Dakota.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.