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Child Exploitation

North Dakota man sentenced to nearly 6 years for possessing child pornography

BISMARCK, N.D. – A local man was sentenced in federal court Monday to nearly six years in prison for possessing child pornography. This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in cooperation with the Bismarck Police Department, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Burleigh County State's Attorney's Office.

Russell Weisz, 51, was sentenced for possessing materials involving minors being sexually exploited. Weisz had pleaded guilty to the charge Feb. 15.

The crime was discovered by a social website frequented by Weisz. Once the website's staff learned Weisz had child pornography images they immediately contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC contacted authorities who then obtained a search warrant for Weisz's Bismarck residence and seized his computer. Later forensic analysis proved he had 68 images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Weisz was sentenced to five years and 10 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim's Fund and must register as a sex offender.

This 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-DHS-2ICE 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.