LAS VEGAS — A University of Nevada student, who worked as a substitute teacher for the Clark County School District, was arrested here yesterday on federal charges for receiving, possessing and distributing child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Nahm Thai, 26, is charged with two counts of transporting child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography.
"Combating the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes is a priority of this office," said U.S. Attorney Greg Brower. "If you use the Internet to participate in this type of crime, you will be prosecuted."
According to the criminal complaint, in March 2007, ICE agents in Seattle, Wash., began an investigation involving the distribution of child pornography over the Internet using the Google "Hello" program.
The agents determined that between January 2007 and January 2008, Nahm and a Virginia resident communicated online regarding the receipt and distribution of child pornography, exchanging more than 4,800 pictures, the majority containing child pornography. On October 30, ICE agents executed a search warrant at Thai's residence in Las Vegas, seizing computers and equipment containing several hundred images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. According to the defendant's parents, who were present during the search, Thai currently works as a substitute teacher for the Clark County School District, and is a senior, majoring in education, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
If convicted, Thai faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the transportation and receipt of child pornography counts, and up to 10 years in prison on the possession of child pornography count.
"People who download and possess child pornography put our youth at risk," said Richard Curry, assistant special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Las Vegas. "This case is particularly troubling because of the suspect's position as someone young people look up to and respect. Those who think they can engage in these kinds of activities and escape justice by hiding in cyberspace should be forewarned that ICE is using every tool at its disposal to protect our children from those who seek to sexually exploit them."
ICE's involvement in this case is part of the agency's initiative known as Operation Predator, an ongoing enforcement effort targeting those who prey upon and sexually exploit our nation's children - including Internet pornographers, international sex tourists, and foreign national sexual predators. Since the initiative's launch five years ago, ICE special agents have arrested more than 11,000 individuals nationwide.
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 ICE partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.
This case is also part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys 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 about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.