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Child Exploitation

Kansas man sentenced to nearly 22 years for producing child pornography

WICHITA, Kan. - A local man was sentenced on Friday to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison for producing child pornography. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Gary J. Hibler, 46, of Pierceville, Kan., was sentenced March 25 in the District of Kansas to 262 months in federal prison without parole. Hibler pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. He initially was charged in a criminal complaint filed Aug. 26, 2010.

The investigation began in May 2010 when ICE HSI agents in Minot, N.D., received information about an Australian couple that had been investigated for sexually abusing their children. Computer records showed the couple had been trading child pornography with a man in North Dakota. When investigators seized the North Dakota man's computer, they found a screen capture recording of a live Web camera transmission in which a nude adult male and a child were shown masturbating together. The images came from a computer user calling himself "Pepsicanman64."

ICE HSI agents followed an electronic trail for "Pepsicanman64" to an Internet account in Pierceville, Kan., and identified Hibler as the adult in the photographs.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart, District of Kansas, prosecuted the case.

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. 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.