AUSTIN, Texas — A north Texas man was sentenced Wednesday to six years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Gary Joe Smith, 61, of Morgan, Texas, was sentenced by U.S District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. to serve 72 months imprisonment for possessing and distributing child pornography. Judge Smith also ordered him to serve five years of supervised release after he completes his sentence. Smith pleaded guilty to the charges March 6.
"This prison sentence sends a clear message that those who sexually exploit children will face serious consequences," said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala, HSI San Antonio. "Preventing and investigating crimes against children is a high priority for HSI. We will continue to dedicate law enforcement resources to identify and bring to justice child predators who traumatize and victimize children."
According to court information, HSI executed a search warrant at his residence April 23, 2013. HSI special agents seized electronic equipment that included a laptop. After a forensic analysis was conducted on the seized items, more than 1200 images of child pornography were discovered.
This case was prosecuted by the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.
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.