Smith was arrested for possession and promotion of child pornography.
"ICE will continue to work with our state, local and other federal law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases like this one," said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Tampa.
Investigators with the cybercrime unit followed up on a request for assistance from officers with the Boynton Beach Police Department after they had discovered Smith's possession of child pornography during a routine undercover investigation online. The cybercrime unit was able to trace the images and videos back to Smith's computer in Tampa. A search warrant was executed at his Tampa residence and six computers, 20 hard drives and thousands of compact discs were seized, all of which will undergo additional forensic analysis to locate any additional images of child pornography. Some of the images contained children as young as two years old.
Smith was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail and will be charged with two counts of promotion of child pornography, a second-degree felony, and 20 counts of possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony which will be enhanced to a second-degree felony under the CyberCrimes Against Children Act of 2007.
The investigation that led to this case was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals through Operation Predator. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.