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Child Exploitation

Computer networking expert sentenced to 8 years on child pornography charges

ORLANDO, Fla. — A computer networking expert was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in federal prison for receipt and possession of child pornography. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Juan Gonzalez, 60, of Palm Bay, must also serve 10 years of supervised release following his prison term.

According to court documents, HSI special agents began investigating an Internet Protocol (IP) address that was sharing images via a peer-to-peer file sharing program. They traced the IP address to a home in Palm Bay and executed a search warrant. After searching the residence and speaking to the home's occupant, the agents determined that the occupant's former neighbor, Gonzalez, had been using the occupant's wireless signal to download and view child pornography, without the occupant's permission.

Further investigation revealed that Gonzalez used numerous IP addresses, through different Internet service providers, to download and view child pornography. Employing his knowledge of computers, Gonzalez obtained IP addresses through virtual private networks in which he was able to geo-locate to a different part of the country or the world. On Dec. 13, 2012, HSI special agents connected to Gonzalez's assigned IP address at his new home in Palm Bay and found dozens of files indicative of child pornography. Gonzalez admitted to having a large amount of child pornography on his computers. He said he had been viewing child pornography for more than 10 years. A forensic analysis of Gonzalez's computers and electronic equipment revealed 174 movies and more than 1,200 still images of child pornography.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty July 8.

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 10,000 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 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

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. 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.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

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.