NEW ORLEANS – A former Navy Petty Officer assigned to a New Orleans Fleet Readiness Center at the time of his arrest was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison Tuesday for receipt of more than 1,000 images of child pornography 125 videos depicting the sexual victimization of children by adults. The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New Orleans, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigations.
Don Edward Pannell II, 32, of Harvey, Louisiana, previously pleaded guilty in August to receiving child pornography between October 2017 and April 2018.
HSI special agents arrested Pannell at his residence April 2, 2018, and according to court documents a forensic examination of electronic devices located more than 1,000 images and 125 videos on Pannell’s desktop computer. The images and videos depicted pre-pubescent girls, to include toddlers, being sexually exploited by adults.
U.S. District Judge Greg G. Guidry sentenced Pannell to 97 months in federal prison on one count of felony receipt of child pornography. In addition to imprisonment, Pannell was ordered to pay $24,000 in restitution and serve five years supervised release following the completion of his sentence. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba prosecuted the case on behalf of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Peter G. Strasser.
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 19,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2018, more than 3,000 (3,191) child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 850 (859) 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. 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.