A federal jury in Fresno, Calif., returned the guilty verdict Friday against Dan Teague, 56, on charges stemming from a joint investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Bakersfield and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California.
The investigation began in Oct. 2005 after an undercover Stanislaus County Sheriff's detective determined that Teague was making hundreds of images of suspected child pornography available to users of a peer-to-peer file-sharing program (LimeWire). The undercover agent received images of child pornography from the defendant and, aided by ICE, determined the location of the defendant's computer. ICE agents and officers with the Bakersfield Police Department executed a federal search warrant at Teague's residence in Nov. 2005, seizing a computer hard drive and a briefcase containing numerous compact discs. Forensic analysis of the computer hard drive and the discs revealed Teague had used the computer to receive images of child pornography and produce obscene visual depictions of children being sexually abused. Some of the images showed adult males sexually abusing young children as well as images of children being sexually assaulted by animals.
"This guilty verdict should serve as a stern warning about the severe consequences awaiting those who sexually exploit children for pleasure or profit," said Mike Prado, acting resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Bakersfield. "ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners at all levels to ensure that those who engage in these reprehensible practices are held accountable for their actions."
Teague, who has been in federal custody since last month, is scheduled to be sentenced May 7. The charges carry a mandatory minimum prison term of five years. In addition to the prison time, Teague faces a possible fine of up to $750,000.
The case against Teague is the result of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE initiative to identify, investigate, and arrest those who prey on children, and the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood (PSC). Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC mobilizes federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.
ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators 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 Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.