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September 23, 2022Phoenix, AZ, United StatesChild Exploitation

Man sentenced to 264 months to prison following HSI Phoenix, multiagency probe

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Last week a local area man was sentenced to just over 20 years in prison followed by a lifetime of probation for violating Arizona state law involving child pornography charges. The sentencing is the result of an HSI Casa Grande and HSI Portland investigation, with assistance from the Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

“For the next 20 years this criminal will wake-up to the clamoring noise of his jail cell doors as he is left to think about his grotesque actions involving child pornography,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “HSI and our law enforcement partners are committed to removing dangerous predators from our streets. I want to thank all of those involved in this case that resulted in such a lengthy sentence.”

On January 25, HSI and AJPD conducted a search warrant at the residence of Dale Lenz, 30, of Phoenix, who was subsequently arrested after a forensic analysis of his device revealed hundreds of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) files. Lenz was arrested for two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; he pleaded guilty to both counts on July 15. Based on the severity of the images obtained, and age of the victims in the images, Pinal County Superior Court imposed the 264 month sentence.

According to HSI special agents, in Aug. 2021, HSI Casa Grande received a collateral request from HSI Portland, Oregon regarding an individual in Pinal County, Arizona, actively engaging in the trade of CSAM via the Kik chat application. In Dec. 2021, during routine deconfliction checks, it was determined that NCMEC had sent a corresponding lead to AJPD regarding the same Kik account. HSI Casa Grande and AJPD agreed to collaborate efforts to identify the scope, suspects, and potential victims.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 1-866-347-2423, or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199; hearing impaired users may call TTY 802-872-6196.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) partners, and other federal, state, and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to NCMEC’s toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

HSI is a founding member 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.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify, and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 09/26/2022