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Child Exploitation

Iowa man sentenced to 27 years in prison for producing child pornography

DES MOINES, Iowa - A local resident was sentenced here Friday to 27 years in prison following his guilty plea to producing and possessing child pornography. This sentencing resulted from a joint investigation by the Mahaska County, Iowa, Sheriff's Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Mark Cody Smith, 53, of New Sharon, Iowa, was sentenced to 324 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge James E. Gritzner. Smith was also ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release upon his release from prison, and must pay a $200 crime victim fund assessment.

Smith pleaded guilty April 24 to producing and possessing child pornography. The case emerged from evidence seized when Mahaska County Sheriff's Deputies executed a search warrant on Smith's residence and his semi tractor-trailer in May 2007. Evidence presented in court showed that Smith took sexually explicit photographs of 7- and 9-year-old child victims and saved them on his computers and cell phone.

This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Smith's investigation and arrest are part of Operation Predator, a national ICE initiative that protects children by investigating and presenting for prosecution pedophiles, Internet predators, human traffickers, international sex tourists, and other predatory criminals. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,500 child predators and sex offenders nationwide, including more than 135 in Iowa.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock.

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.