NORFOLK, Va. - Neal Assad Sabra, 45, of Chesapeake, Va., was sentenced today in Norfolk federal court to 22 years in prison for transporting child pornography and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and a lifetime period of supervised release, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
"Today's sentence demonstrates the consequences awaiting those who use the Internet to sexually exploit innocent children," said ICE Special Agent in Charge John Torres. "ICE will continue to work tirelessly to identify these child predators and bring them to justice."
"This sentence should send a strong message that repeat offenders will be seriously punished," said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride. "Child pornography is a terrible crime that traumatizes victims forever online. That is why we are committed to protecting children from sexual predators and putting offenders behind bars."
According to court documents and statements made in open court, Sabra communicated via e-mail with an undercover officer located in New York and sent that officer numerous images of child pornography. On Jan. 21, 2010, ICE agents executed search warrants at Sabra's home and place of employment, and seized numerous computers and other electronic media. During the execution of the search warrant, forensic analysts previewed a thumb drive located on Sabra's key chain and found four saved videos of child pornography. A subsequent forensic analysis of all electronic media seized that day revealed that Sabra possessed more than 300 images of child pornography and over 50 videos of child pornography.
This is Sabra's second conviction related to child pornography. In 2006, Sabra was convicted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice of receiving and possessing child pornography and was sentenced to serve 40 months, with all but 18 months imprisonment suspended. After his release from custody and at the time of his arrest on the current federal charges, Sabra was working at a local non-profit running a therapy group for sex addicts.
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. 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.
For more information, visit www.ice.gov.