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Child Exploitation

Federal grand jury indicts north Texas man on child pornography charges

LUBBOCK, Texas — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging a north Texas man with one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

It is expected that Anthony Zane Austin, 20, of Childress, Texas, will surrender to federal authorities and appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clinton Averitte Sept. 20 for his initial appearance.

The indictment alleges that between Aug. 21, 2011, and Feb. 10, 2012, Austin received child pornography via the Internet. On April 26, 2012, Austin allegedly possessed a thumb drive that contained at least one image of child pornography.

The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Lubbock Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock is in charge of the prosecution.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the receipt count carries a statutory sentence of not less than five or more than 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. The possession count, upon conviction, carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.

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