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Child Exploitation

North Dakota man pleads guilty to identity theft, possessing child pornography

FARGO, N.D. – A North Dakota man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to identity theft and possessing child pornography. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

Thomas Jacob Weldon, 32, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Erickson to possessing materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors, and identity theft.

Weldon admitted using personal information of three Jamestown, N.D., residents to purchase items for his own use. Weldon also pleaded guilty to possessing videos on his computer which depict children involved in sexually explicit conduct.

The incidents occurred between April and July 2010 in North Dakota. The identity theft conviction carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment; possessing child pornography carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.

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 or its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.