ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 70-year-old New Mexico man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to distributing child pornography.
Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Richard J. Dates, from Grants, New Mexico, faces being sentenced to five to 12 years in federal prison followed by not less than five years of supervised release. Dates will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
In August 2012, Dates was arrested in Grants on a criminal complaint charging him with possessing child pornography. According to court documents, HSI special agents arrested Dates after an investigation by HSI Boston identified him as an individual who was distributing child pornography images on the Internet.
Dates was indicted Sept. 5, 2012 and charged with possessing child pornography from Aug. 23, 2009 through Aug. 23, 2012. A superseding indictment was filed Sept. 25, 2013 charging Dates with distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography. A second superseding indictment was filed June 24, 2014 charging Dates with possessing, advertising, distributing and receiving child pornography.
During Monday’s proceedings, Dates pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography. He admitted distributing child pornography June 15, 2011. Dates remains in federal custody since his arrest pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacob Wishard and Marisa A. Lizarraga, District of New Mexico, are prosecuting this case.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 12,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. 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-THE-LOST.
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.