Daniel Johnathan Gast, 28, of Plantation, has been charged with one count each of possession and distribution of child pornography. According to court documents, while conducting an investigation into the advertisement of suspected child pornography over publicly available networks, HSI special agents, working jointly with ICAC task force partners, discovered an Internet Protocol address registered to Gast at his Plantation residence. A search of Gast’s residence yielded no evidence of the suspected child pornography.
A subsequent search of a music school in Broward County, where Gast worked as a teacher, resulted in the discovery of a computer belonging to Gast which, after a forensic analysis, yielded more than 95 video files depicting child pornography, many involving children under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
If convicted, Gast faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works or attends school.
The investigation is part of 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.