BOSTON — A Shrewsbury, Mass., man was convicted Wednesday in a Boston federal court of possessing hundreds of images of child pornography in a case investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.
Shalin Bhavsar, 32, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography during a hearing before U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV.
According to federal prosecutors, if the case had gone to trial, evidence from an international child pornography investigation would have identified thousands of purchases of child pornography subscriptions by people in the United States, including Bhavsar.
The investigation by ICE HSI special agents showed that Bhavsar purchased six 30-day subscriptions to various child pornography sites. On the basis of this information, agents searched Bhavsar's residence and seized computers and compact discs. Investigators discovered hundreds of sexually explicit images involving prepubescent females on a CD.
Judge Saylor scheduled sentencing for Dec. 12, 2011. Bhavsar faces up to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Boston, and Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston field division, announced the case that is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hennessy.
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-2-ICE. 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.