FRESNO, Calif. – A Fresno man has been indicted on federal charges for receiving child pornography, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Clove Police Department.
Lance Howard Mayes, 42, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury. Mayes is accused of receiving images involving the sexual exploitation of a minor between March 2011 and November 2011. Following his arrest Wednesday, Mayes was arraigned Friday in Fresno. He was released on his own recognizance with his next court appearance set for August 20. Stanley A. Boone, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, is prosecuting the case.
"Keeping children safe from sexual exploitation is a top priority for HSI," said Jerry Kracher, acting resident agent in charge for HSI Fresno. "We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who commit these types of crimes to ensure they feel the full weight of the law."
If convicted, Mayes faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation is part of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and Project Safe Childhood (PCS), a Department of Justice effort launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE 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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."