JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A joint investigation between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office led to the sentencing of a 24-year-old U.S. Navy sailor who was convicted for possession of child pornography after downloading the illegal material from LimeWire.
Cardell Shaun Cole, a U.S. Navy sailor based out of Naval Station Mayport, was sentenced yesterday to more than two years in prison by U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan. Cole was also sentenced to a five-year term of supervised release and was ordered by the court to register under federal and state law as a sex offender. Cole was arrested at Naval Station Mayport on April 22, 2008, and may be discharged by the U.S. Navy on the basis of this felony conviction.
According to court documents, in November 2007, Cole brought his computer to a department store in Jacksonville for repairs. During the course of those repairs, computer technicians discovered suspected images of child pornography on the computer and contacted local law enforcement. ICE and JSO subsequently opened a joint investigation, which included a forensic examination of the computer. The results of the forensic examination confirmed the existence of numerous images of child pornography on Cole's computer.
During the course of the investigation, Cole was interviewed by law enforcement. After being advised of his constitutional rights, Cole told ICE special agents that he utilized LimeWire to search the Internet for child pornography. Using search terms associated with child pornography, Cole would locate the images and then save them to his computer.
The arrest of Cole was part of Operation Predator, a comprehensive ICE initiative aimed at those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Since the initiative was launched in July of 2003, there have been more than 11,500 individuals arrested nationwide.
Additional information about Operation Predator is available on the Web at www.ice.gov. ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is 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.
This case is also part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney's Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information on Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin C. Frein.