WICHITA, Kan. — A long-haul truck driver from southeastern Kansas was sentenced in federal court Thursday to 12 1/2 years in federal prison for transporting child pornography.
This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the FBI.
Joshua David Bellah, 40, of Wichita, pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of child pornography.
In his plea he admitted that on Oct. 22, 2013, he traveled from Oklahoma to Kansas with laptops containing several thousand images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He had previously used a variety of free email accounts to obtain and exchange child pornography while he was traveling as an over-the-road truck driver. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
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 producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking 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.