GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A local resident was arrested without incident here Tuesday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on charges of possessing child pornography. The arrest was announced by U.S. Attorney Troy Eid, District of Colorado, and ICE.
Michael J. Morrow, 63, of Grand Junction, Colo., will make his initial appearance at 1 p.m. Wednesday, in Mesa County court, where he'll be advised of the charges pending against him. A preliminary hearing and detention hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m., Nov. 3 in U.S. Magistrate Judge Kristen Mix's courtroom in Denver.
According to an affidavit in support of a Criminal Complaint, ICE agents received information that an individual using an Internet Protocol (IP) address at Morrow's residence may be involved with sexually exploiting children. They executed a search warrant at Michael Morrow's home Oct. 27. Agents conducted a preview examination of Morrow's hard drive and discovered numerous image files of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. During the investigation, Morrow stated that he had about 13,000 images of child pornography, ranging in age from toddlers to teens.
"Tragically, Mr. Morrow was actively involved in several organizations which gave him direct access to children," said U.S. Attorney Troy Eid. "Anyone with information about this case should call the Mesa County Sheriff's Office at 970-244-3500."
"Each child depicted in child pornography images is an innocent victim of those who produce, possess, transport and share child pornography," said Jeffrey Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. "ICE will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify these child predators and bring them to justice." Copp oversees a four-state area which includes: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
Using ICE's unique customs law enforcement authorities regarding any commodity that crosses state or international borders - including the Internet - ICE created its Operation Predator program. Operation Predator is 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,500 individuals, including 320 in Colorado.
If convicted of possessing child pornography, the defendant faces up to 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a federal felony offense has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a grand jury.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wyatt Angelo, District of Colorado, is prosecuting this case.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.