MIAMI - Brian James Keith, 36, of Martin County, Fla., was arraigned today on a March 4 indictment charging him with the transportation and receipt of child pornography, following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Martin County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) investigation.
Keith, who was ordered held with no bond, faces up to 20 years in prison, including a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
On Feb. 2, ICE special agents in Fort Pierce conducted an Internet investigation into the international trafficking of child pornography via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks after ICE agents discovered that someone in Florida was sharing and sending images depicting minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. ICE agents determined that the subscriber to the suspect P2P networks was Keith.
ICE special agents notified the MCSO of the investigation and they initiated a parallel investigation and were also able to download child pornography from Keith's Internet protocol (IP) address.
On Feb. 18, the MCSO executed a state search warrant with the assistance of ICE and seized computers and media. After a forensic examination of Keith's computer, more than a hundred deleted images depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were recovered. On March 2, Keith was arrested pursuant to a federal arrest warrant and complaint.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested almost 12,000 individuals through Operation Predator.
Anyone with information about suspected child predators and any suspicious activity ca report the information to ICE's toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
The investigation was conducted by ICE's Office of Investigations in Fort. Pierce and the MCSO.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.