FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A 23-year-old Port Saint Lucie, Fla., resident, was sentenced Monday to 180 months in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release as a sex offender, following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) led investigation.
Jason David Bingham was sentenced in federal court in Fort Pierce on Oct. 19 before U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham after he pleaded guilty on July 27 to a federal indictment charging him with advertising child pornography and transportation of child pornography.
The investigation began on Feb. 15, when officers from the German Federal Police (BKA) downloaded approximately 37 image files that included 24 images depicting minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. One of these images is of a child who appears to be well under the age of eight.
The BKA, with assistance of ICE's Cyber Crimes Center (C3), learned that Bingham's computer utilized an Internet protocol address that was assigned to a residence located in Port Saint Lucie, Fla.
On April 23, ICE special agents in Fort Pierce, with the assistance of detectives from the Port Saint Lucie Police Department and Martin County Sheriff's Office, executed a federal search warrant at the defendant's home and seized computers, hard drives and media. Bingham admitted he downloaded and traded child pornography with others via the Internet and that he had images of children as young as infants engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
During a forensic preview by ICE's C3 of a backup hard drive, which Bingham admitted to encrypting, agents observed Bingham's child pornography collection, consisting of numerous images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The total count of files on the drive was 577,943. Additionally, the defendant had numerous video files, many over one-hour long that depicted children being sexually assaulted by adults and animals having sexual contact with children. The defendant also chatted online via the Internet with pedophiles, who described sexually assaulting children.
The ICE investigation and arrest was part of an initiative known as Operation Predator. Operation Predator protects children from sexual predators, including those who travel across continents to have sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child traffickers. Since the initiative was launched in July 2003, there have been almost 12,000 individuals arrested nationwide.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger prosecuted the case.