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Child Exploitation

Former Nebraska man, current California inmate, sentenced for trading in child pornography

LINCOLN, Neb. — A former Nebraska resident, currently serving life in a California prison for sexual abuse of a child, was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison for trading in child pornography.

This sentence resulted from concurrent investigations conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Adams County (Nebraska) Sheriff's Office, the Nebraska State Patrol and California law enforcement authorities.

Todd Tackwell, 39, formerly of Hastings, Nebraska, was sentenced to 156 months in prison for one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography. This sentence will run concurrently with his California prison sentence, and will be followed by a 35- to 45-year prison sentence in Nebraska for a similar crime.

Tackwell came to the attention of law enforcement through an investigation initiated by HSI into a criminal organization that was operating a commercial child pornography website. Tackwell was determined to be a subscriber to the website.

In August 2008 investigators contacted Tackwell at his residence in Hastings, at which time he admitted to possessing child pornography on his computer. A forensic examination of Tackwell's computer hard drive revealed videos depicting sexually explicit conduct of children, and an indictment was filed in the District of Nebraska in 2010.

Tackwell was previously sentenced July 20, 2012 in California to serve 25 years to life in state prison for continuous sexual abuse of a child. Prior to Tackwell's arrival in California he'd been living in Nebraska where he committed other crimes that later caught up to him.

During the initial investigation into that crime, California investigators were alerted to a possible victim living in Lincoln, Nebraska, who came forward after news reports announced Tackwell's arrest in the California matter.

According to the victim's statements, she was sexually abused by Tackwell between 2004 through 2006. Tackwell was convicted Nov. 19, 2013 in Lancaster County, Nebraska, of sexual assault of a minor and sentenced to serve 35 to 45 years in state prison. The sentence for this crime is not to start until he has completed his California sentence.

After his release from prison, Tackwell will be required to serve a life term of supervised release and be registered as a sex offender. There is no parole from federal prison.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.