Kenneth Oray Wagner, of Tacoma, pleaded guilty to the charge in February. He admitted to sharing child pornography in online chat rooms with the username "Lusting4lil1s" (lusting for little ones).
Following a lead from investigators in Los Angeles, HSI Seattle special agents executed a search warrant at Wagner's residence in May 2011. They seized computer equipment and digital storage devices. Washington Department of Corrections arrested Wagner the same day for probation violations related to previous state convictions on child exploitation charges.
HSI first encountered Wagner in late 2009. HSI Los Angeles special agents discovered someone using the username "Lusting4lil1s" had uploaded images depicting the sexual exploitation of pre-pubescent children to an online discussion board. They connected the username to Wagner and also found he had chatted about his interest in violently raping a 5-year-old girl.
"Traders of child pornography should be aware that their best friend online might just be an HSI special agent," said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. "HSI will continue to aggressively target those who victimize children for their self-gratification."
HSI forensic examiners found Wagner possessed more than 275 images and in excess of 40 videos of child pornography.
In their sentencing recommendation, prosecutors said: "Wagner's offense, the possession of child pornography traded over the Internet — images and videos of real children experiencing the very worst moments of their young lives — is not a 'victimless' crime, and the heinous nature of his offense should never be diminished by referring to it as one involving 'just pictures.' There is no doubt that the children portrayed in the images and video files on Wagner's digital media, and their families, suffer real and permanent damage, for the rest of their lives, each and every time their exploitation is shared over the Internet."
Wagner was previously convicted on state charges of communication with a minor for immoral purposes in 2010 and possessing and downloading child pornography in 2011.
The case was prosecuted by an ICE Office of Chief Counsel Seattle attorney specially designated by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington to prosecute immigration and customs related cases in federal court.
As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 orhttp://www.cybertipline.com.
Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington and ask to speak with the coordinator.