BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Hamburg man, who is also a former supervisor with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography Monday following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and the Hamburg Police Department.
Steven Metz, 41, faces a possible sentence of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of at least five years to life.
"Department of Homeland Security employees are held to the highest levels of professional standards and ethics," said J. Michael Kennedy, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Buffalo. "HSI special agents and our partners at the Office of Inspector General are absolutely committed to ensuring our employees hold to these standards and are brought to account when they break the law."
According to information provided at court, on Oct. 25, 2012, law enforcement found images and videos of child pornography on Metz's computer at his Hamburg residence. The defendant possessed more than 600 images of child pornography, some of which contained sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence involving children under the age of 12 years. The defendant emailed child pornography to others through the Internet.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.