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Child Exploitation

South Texas man pleads guilty to sending obscene materials to a child

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Texas man pleaded guilty on Monday to transferring obscene material to a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted jointly by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Corpus Christi Police Department’s (CCPD) Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC).

Gregory Lynn Garner, 40, admitted at his hearing to transferring obscene material between Feb. 23 and March 10. The obscene material consisted of images of his genitalia and him engaging in sexual acts with an adult. Garner was arrested on a federal indictment on July 29 after surrendering to authorities with the assistance of his attorney.

According to court documents, in February, a detective with the Fort Worth Police Department’s Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC), acting in an undercover capacity, conducted an investigation into individuals soliciting children to engage in sexual activities. On Feb. 23, the detective encountered Garner in a general-subject chat room on the Internet. Using the screen name “manwithplan,” Garner began chatting with the detective who identified himself as a 13-year-old girl. The chats continued through March 10.

During that period, Garner discussed the sexual experiences and interests of the child and requested that she send him photos. Garner sent multiple photos of himself, several of which depicted his penis and himself engaged in sexual acts with an adult. The investigation was able to determine that the person using the screen name “manwithplan” was Gregory Lynn Garner, a resident of Corpus Christi.

The case was referred to the CCPD ICAC task force. CCPD and ICE HSI agents executed a search warrant at Garner’s Corpus Christi home on March 24, seizing a computer which contained evidence of the chats and photos sent by Garner to the detective, who he thought was a child.

Previously released on bond, Garner was remanded to federal custody after his Nov. 7 guilty plea. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which is set for Jan. 17 before U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack.

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 and 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.