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Child Exploitation
04/01/2009

Former Navy man arrested for possessing child pornography

TAMPA, Fla. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assisted in the arrest of a Hillsborough County man April 1 for possessing child pornography and promoting the sexual performance of a child.

Marcus James Morgan was arrested at his Thonotosassa, Fla., home today by law enforcement officials with ICE, the Florida Attorney General's CyberCrime Unit and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The agencies involved with today's arrest are members of the Attorney General's Tampa CyberCrime Task Force or the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

Morgan's possession of child pornography was discovered when CyberCrime investigators located images of child pornography during a routine undercover investigation and traced the images back to Morgan's computer. A search warrant was served at his house today and law enforcement seized a laptop computer. Morgan, 30, admitted to possessing the images discovered during the investigation. Many of the images reviewed by investigators were of children appearing to be between the ages of 5 and 13 years old.

Morgan, who formerly served in the Navy, will be charged with six counts of promoting child pornography and 15 counts of possession of child pornography. The charges will be enhanced under the Cyber Crimes Against Children Act, raising the promotion charges to first-degree felonies and the possession charges to second-degree felonies.

"Once again, it is great to see the selfless work of the members of the Tampa CyberCrime Task Force paying off by making arrests like this one," said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of the ICE Tampa Office of Investigations. "The teamwork between ICE and our partner agencies consistently exceeds any and all expectations."

The arrest of Morgan was part of Operation Predator, a comprehensive ICE initiative aimed at those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable. 

Additional information about Operation Predator is available on the Web at www.ice.gov.  ICE encourages the reporting of 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.