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Child Exploitation

21-year-old north Texas man sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography

DALLAS — A 21-year-old north Texas man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison and a 10 year term of supervised release, following his guilty plea in July for possessing child pornography.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Samuel William Maines, of Mesquite, Texas, was sentenced to 120 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle.

According to documents filed in the case, in March 2012, a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), working in an undercover capacity and using file-sharing software, identified a computer sharing images of child pornography. The special agent noticed that of the 1,200 files available for download, most of the files had names indicative of child pornography. After downloading some of these files and verifying that they included images of child pornography, a search warrant was executed at Maines' home in Mesquite. During the search, special agents seized a generic, self-built computer with two hard drives from his bedroom. A forensic analysis of the computer revealed the images that the special agent had downloaded, and more than 900 videos and 1,200 images of child pornography. Some of these child pornography images depicted bondage and sadism. Maines admitted that he built the computer and that he was the only one who operated it.

HSI was in charge of the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks prosecuted.

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-DHS-2ICE 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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.