POCATELLO, Idaho – An Idaho Falls man pleaded guilty Wednesday to possessing sexually explicit images of minors following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the FBI.
James Brown, 50, admitted to possessing more than 600 images of child pornography on his laptop. According to the plea agreement, when he was questioned by HSI special agents last summer he admitted possessing "thousands" of pornographic images. Brown told investigators that about half of the pictures were of children. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho.
In April 2011, the FBI learned that an email account belonging to Brown had been used to send child pornography to another person. An investigation led authorities to suspect the illegal activity was being conducted using the computer network of Brown's employer, Phoenix-based ON Semiconductor. Once notified, the company promptly undertook an internal investigation and cooperated fully with law enforcement's investigation. Brown's employment was terminated following his confession to the authorities.
The charge of possessing sexually explicit images of minors is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a minimum term of five years up to lifetime supervised release. Brown's sentencing is set for June 17, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.