FRESNO, Calif. – A Fresno man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to receipt of child pornography, the result of a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
Victor Duane Smith, 59, initially came under law enforcement scrutiny in July 2013 when he used the Fresno County Public Library’s public wireless system to view child pornography through an Internet file-sharing program. According to court documents, investigators were able to match the computer Smith used to the computer that had accessed the library’s system. Authorities subsequently observed Smith in the library using the program. He later confessed to the offense.
Smith, who is currently in custody, is scheduled to be sentenced June 2. He faces a possible penalty of five to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair 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.