HOUSTON - A local man pleaded guilty on Friday to possessing thousands of images of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Marvin Oscar Hunick, 51, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon. Hunick has been held in federal custody without bond since his August 2009 arrest following his indictment; he will remain in custody pending a sentencing hearing set for Feb. 18, 2011.
The ICE investigation began after agents determined that Hunick paid for a subscription to a child pornography website using a computer located at his Houston residence. On Nov. 19, 2009, agents executed a federal search warrant at Hunick's residence and seized several computers as well as printed images of child pornography and CDs containing child pornography files. During the search, Hunick admitted he purchased memberships to child pornography websites on at least five occasions.
ICE agents conducted a forensic examination of the seized computers and other media, and discovered 8,539 images and 799 videos containing child pornography.
Hunick faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. After he completes any prison term imposed, he also faces a maximum life term of supervised release; the court can also impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and limit Hunick's use of the Internet.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.