ERIE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to a federal charge of possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.
Russell Gardner, 54, of Erie, was arrested in November 2009. During the forensic review of Gardner's computer, agents discovered images depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Gardner is scheduled to be sentenced on May 11, 2012. If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.