BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A 70-year-old southeast Texas man was sentenced Thursday to five years federal prison for possessing child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force conducted this investigation.
Howard William Halverson, from South Padre Island, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography Nov. 29, 2016.
U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera considered Halverson’s age and handed him a sentence of 60 months in federal prison. The court further ordered Halverson to pay $50,317 in restitution to the known victims discovered in his child pornography collection. Halverson will also spend the rest of his life on supervised release after he completes his prison sentence, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the Internet. He must also register as a sex offender.
The investigation into Halverson began as authorities were looking into persons utilizing peer-to-peer software to exchange and view child pornography. Federal agents executed a search warrant at Halverson’s condominium on July 6, 2016, which led to the discovery of 1,488 images and five videos containing child pornography, 545 of which were of known victims.
Halverson has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ facility to be determined in the near future.
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 14,000 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 2015, nearly 2,400 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.