Micah Monroe Argyle, 28, admitted to intentionally searching the Internet and downloading sexually explicit images and videos of children. According to the plea agreement, Argyle engaged in the illicit activity between Feb. 23 and March 1, 2011. HSI special agents found more than 600 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on computers and digital storage devices seized from Argyle's home.
"With every downloaded file and every viewing of an illicit photograph, consumers of child pornography re-victimize these children," said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of HSI Idaho Falls. "They are just as complicit in furthering the trade of child pornography as those who produce it and we will continue to seek out these perpetrators and bring them to justice."
Argyle's sentencing is set for July 11, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to lifetime supervised release. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho is handling the prosecution.
The case is part of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and Project Safe Childhood, 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 1-866-347-2423 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho and ask to speak with the coordinator.