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March 28, 2022Houston, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

Former sheriff’s deputy sentenced to 10 years for possessing child pornography following investigation by ICE HSI, state and local law enforcement

HOUSTON – A former Harris County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) deputy was sentenced March 25 to 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston, Grand Prairie (Texas) Police Department, the Texas Rangers and HCSO.

Donald Thomas Dehnert, a 50-year-old resident of Kingwood, Texas, and former HCSO sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced in Harris County District Court after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.

Dehnert was arrested on four counts of possession of child pornography March 28, 2018, as part of a joint sting operation by the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. He came under suspicion and a warrant was issued to search his home based on an online undercover investigation where Dehnert solicited sex with an undercover officer’s 5- and 11-year-old daughters.

Dehnert subsequently admitted to having child pornography on a flash drive that was found at his residence. He said he deleted the images, but forensics investigators were able to retrieve them. The flash drive had photos of nude children under two years old and a girl who appeared to be between six and eight years old. One image showed the girl appearing to perform a sexual act.

According to HCSO, Dehnert joined the sheriff's office in 1992 and was relieved of duty following his arrest.

Assistant District Attorney Timothy Goodwin prosecuted the case.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 03/28/2022