LUBBOCK, Texas – A west Texas man was charged in a federal indictment with one count of producing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office.
Dale Wray Fulford, 77, of Slaton, Texas, is currently in custody on related state charges. A date has not yet been set for him to make his initial appearance in federal court.
The indictment alleges that between February 2013 and early February 2014, Fulford used, persuaded, induced and enticed a girl, under age 18, to engage in sexually explicit conduct that he recorded on a digital camera.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury; the defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the statutory penalty is not less than 15 years or more than 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, Texas, is 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 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.
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.