FRESNO, Calif. — A Fresno man convicted of receiving child pornography in conjunction with Operation Sunflower, a nationwide enforcement action targeting Internet child predators led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Roy Palomera, 24, was sentenced Monday by Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. In addition to the prison term, Ishii ordered Palomera to pay $5,000 in restitution to one victim whose images he possessed.
According to court documents, investigators determined Palomera was making child pornography available through a file-sharing program. When a search warrant was executed at Palomera's residence in August 2012, his computer contained numerous images of minors being sexually abused. Some of the victims were prepubescent, and several images depicted violence, bondage or other sadistic or masochistic conduct.
"This sentence should serve as a sobering reminder of the consequences facing those who sexually exploit defenseless children," said Nick Annan, acting special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. "This defendant was among 14 individuals arrested in the Fresno area as part of Operation Sunflower. The reality is, every time a photo or a video of an innocent child being sexually exploited is viewed, that victim is violated again. That is why we owe it to the children identified in these cases to work tirelessly to see that the perpetrators involved in any form of child exploitation are brought to justice."
This case was the result of an investigation by HSI Fresno and the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa prosecuted the case.
This case was brought under the auspices of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Project Safe Childhood and HSI's Operation Predator. Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide DOJ initiative launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.
HSI's Operation Predator is an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since its launch in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of 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.