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Child Exploitation
12/17/2010

Top Story: HSI's Dallas Cyber Crimes Group busts child predators

Group's outstanding law enforcment efforts recognized by Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association

Silhouette of man using laptop computer
Silhouette of man using laptop computer

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) not only conducts investigations involving drug trafficking and terrorism threats, it also protects children from sexual predators. Investigative and computer forensic special agents of HSI's Dallas Cyber Crimes Group expose predators who hide behind cloaks of anonymity and pseudonyms while prowling for prey on the World Wide Web.

Merging their investigative acuity and technological expertise, the Dallas Cyber Crimes Group identifies and apprehends child molesters who pass through the cyber portal and enter forbidden zones. Last year, the team arrested 29 individuals — a record number, equating to one child predator every two weeks. A large number of those arrests led to convictions.

Significant cases include:

  • A 41-year-old Pittsburg, Texas man was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for child pornography violations.
  • A former pastor, a church music minister and a trusted federal employee were arrested for exploiting children via the Internet—uploading, downloading and sharing files and videos depicting sexually explicit images of children, including those of infants and toddlers.
  • A 68-year-old Bedford, Texas man was arrested for owned two million child pornographic images and videos. Law enforcement enforcement seized more than 50 terabytes—or one trillion units —of illegal data.

As a result of their efforts, special agents from the Dallas Cyber Crimes Group's received a group achievement award for outstanding law enforcement from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA). FLEOA is the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit professional association that represents more than 25,000 federal law enforcement officers from more than 65 different agencies.

Honorees include:

  • Eddie Basham
  • Cynthia Manning
  • Mike Jester
  • Noel Jones
  • Bradley Hudson
  • James Pokorney
  • Jesse Lara Jr.
  • Howard Harris
  • Jason Prasnikar
  • Jose Delgado
  • Patrick McGaha

"The depraved nature of exploiting children for one's own sexual gratification and the suffering and damage these crimes cause their victims is the incentive that propels our law enforcement teams to find these perpetrators and stop them in their tracks," said HSI Dallas Special Agent in Charge John Chakwin, Jr. "The work of the Dallas Cyber Crimes Group literally saves children from abuse that causes lifelong psychological torment."

Operation Predator is a nationwide ICE program to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child traffickers. ICE is also a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international coalition of law enforcement agencies that work together to fight child abuse online.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.This hotline is 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.