TACOMA, Wash. - A Port Angeles, Wash., man was sentenced today in federal court to 15 months in prison and ten years of supervised release on charges of possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Mitchell Ian Blackburn, 39, came to the attention of ICE agents after he subscribed to a commercial website that offered access to videos and images of hardcore child pornography. The website alerted would-be subscribers that subscribing was illegal and warned them be discreet about their purchases.
ICE agents searched Blackburn's home in August 2006 and discovered more than 1,000 images of child pornography on his computer. Images depicted children younger than 12 years old, or subject to violent and sadistic sexual abuse.
"Some predators mistakenly believe the anonymity of cyberspace shields them," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's office of investigations. "The use of computers and the Internet have given ICE new tools in our enforcement efforts to protect children."
Blackburn pleaded guilty in January 2008. As part of his plea agreement, he forfeits a variety of computer equipment to the government, and agrees to a Psycho-Sexual Assessment and agrees to sexual deviancy treatment as part of a ten year term of supervised release. He will be required to register as a sex offender.
The investigation of Blackburn is part of "Operation Emissary," a nationwide ICE investigation initiated in late 2005. More than 260 people who subscribed to a hard core child pornography website have been arrested in 44 states.