This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. The investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Big Spring Police Department.
Christopher Aubrey Harlan, 27, formerly of Big Spring, Texas, who is on bond, faces a statutory penalty of not less than five years, or more than 20 years, in federal prison, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to a lifetime of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings ordered a pre-sentence investigation report with a sentencing date to be set after the report is completed.
According to documents filed in the case, Harlan used his computer, as well as for a brief time, his roommate's computer, to access child pornography on various websites. He used those computers and his cellphone to send and receive numerous images of child pornography.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy, Northern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.