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Child Exploitation
10/31/2008

Glendale attorney faces state charges in ICE child pornography probe

LOS ANGELES - Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Glendale Police Department today arrested a Glendale, Calif., attorney on a felony complaint charging him with possession of child pornography and an assault weapon.

Walter Loustari, 57, was arrested without incident at his law office in nearby La Canada, Calif. He is expected to appear for arraignment Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Loustari was charged Wednesday in a felony complaint following an investigation by ICE and the Glendale Police Department. The criminal complaint charges Loustari with three felony counts of possessing materials depicting the sexual exploitation of a child and one felony count of illegal possession of an Uzi assault rifle.

If convicted of the crimes, Loustari could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in state prison. He is being held on $95,000 bail.

ICE's investigation into Loustari began in October 2006 as part of a probe targeting an alleged hardcore child pornography site on the Internet. The investigation included execution of a search warrant at the defendant's Glendale apartment.

"People who download and possess child pornography are truly putting the world's youth at risk," said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles. "We're talking about images and scenes involving real children who are being sexually abused and exploited in horrific ways. ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners here and around the world to target those who commit these types of crimes and see they are brought to justice."

ICE's involvement in this investigation is part of the agency's initiative known as Operation Predator, an ongoing enforcement effort targeting those who prey upon and sexually exploit our nation's children - including Internet pornographers, international sex tourists, and foreign national sexual predators. Since the initiative's launch five years ago, ICE special agents have arrested more than 11,000 individuals nationwide.

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 ICE partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.