The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore, FBI and the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD).
Alan Clifton, of Halethorpe, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison and 30 years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett. Judge Bennett ordered that, upon his release from prison, Clifton must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
According to evidence presented at his four-day trial, Clifton used a file-sharing program to share images of child pornography. On Oct. 11, 2011, an undercover detective downloaded three videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct from Clifton's files. A search warrant was subsequently executed at Clifton's residence and BCPD's Crimes Against Children Unit officers seized Clifton's laptop computer, which was found in his bedroom, another computer, an external hard disk drive and other digital media. An on-scene forensic scan of Clifton's laptop computer revealed images of child pornography. A subsequent forensic examination of the external hard drive recovered 3,700 files of child pornography including the three videos that had been downloaded by the undercover detective.
The 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.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources, including HSI, to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judson T. Mihok and Peter J. Martinez.