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Child Exploitation
03/06/2009

Man sentenced to more than 17 years for child sexual exploitation

Defendant also faces state charges in ongoing probe by ICE and San Bernardino Sheriff

SAN DIEGO - A retired general contractor intercepted at the Port of Entry in Calexico, Calif., with a video containing child pornography and an unrelated 5-year-old boy in his vehicle has been sentenced to 210 months in federal prison for child sexual exploitation.

Earl Venton Buchanan, 65, was sentenced earlier this week as part of a plea agreement in which he admitted making the video that showed him molesting a young boy in the bedroom of his residence on a five-acre compound in Bloomington, Calif. Buchanan also admitted transporting the videotape from Southern California to Arizona, where he crossed the border into Mexico, before crossing back into the United States at the port of entry in Calexico.

"This sentencing clearly shows the severe consequences facing those who prey upon and sexually exploit children," said Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in San Diego. "ICE will do everything in its power and use every tool at its disposal to keep our children safe - whether they are around the block or around the world."

In July 2006, Buchanan was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Caleixico border crossing after a search of his vehicle turned up the video containing child pornography. Buchanan was arrested taken into custody by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who launched an exhaustive search to locate relatives of the 5-year-old boy who was with Buchanan at the time of the arrest.

During subsequent criminal searches at two properties owned by Buchanan in Calif., and Ark., ICE agents found a closed circuit video camera installed directly above the defendant's bed, along with children's clothing and pornographic materials.

In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn L. Huff also ordered Buchanan to forfeit a portion of his property on the Bloomington compound where the video was produced. The value of the foreifited real estate is estimated at $700,000.

Buchanan is also facing multiple state child molestation charges in an ongoing probe by the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department that arose out of the federal investigation. In that case, at least six victims under 7 years old have been indentified.

ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline. The number, 1-866-DHS-2ICE, is monitored 24 hours a day. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.