This sentenced resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) offices in Galveston and Albuquerque, and the Pearland Police Department, which is part of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
"By working together, our team of law enforcement agencies took a child predator off the Internet and off the streets, and put him behind bars for nearly three decades," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "While this sentence can't undo the harm that McReynolds caused this young girl, it does prevent him from exploiting any other children for a long, long time."
Travis James McReynolds, 32, from Pearland, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa to 351 months and 60 months in federal prison for the producing and distributing convictions, respectively; these sentences will run concurrently. At the sentencing hearing, the victim's mother testified about the terrible impact this crime has had on her daughter; she described how McReynolds took her innocence away. In handing down the sentence, Judge Costa took these crimes into consideration, and noted how McReynolds exploited someone who trusted him. After he completes his prison term, McReynolds will be on supervised release for the rest of his life, and must register as a sex offender. McReynolds pleaded guilty to the charges Nov. 7.
McReynolds was chatting online with an undercover officer in New Mexico, during which the undercover officer received three images and several videos of child pornography. One of the videos appeared to be a webcam video of a girl under the age of 13 in sexually graphic poses. Similar still images were also emailed to the undercover officer. The officer was able to determine the Internet Service Provider and traced the ISP information to McReynolds' address in Pearland. McReynolds had sent the undercover officer a short video clip of what turned out to be a young teen girl that McReynolds had produced himself. Based on this video, the undercover officer contacted Galveston-area law enforcement with the information.
On Oct. 20, 2012, a state search warrant was executed at McReynolds' apartment in Pearland, at which time two laptop computers were seized which revealed child pornography. Upon questioning, McReynolds admitted obtaining child pornography by chatting with others over the Internet. Forensic analysis of his computers resulted in discovering 132 images and 35 videos of child pornography.
McReynolds will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.
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 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.
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.