BALTIMORE — A Maryland man was sentenced to 70 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for receipt of child pornography following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office with the assistance of the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office.
Dustin Anthony Axelrod, 27, of Salisbury, Md., was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr., who ordered that upon his release from prison, Axelrod must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
According to the plea agreement, on Jan. 9, 2009, a Wicomico County detective, utilizing an undercover computer at the Wicomico County Child Advocacy Center, was investigating the online distribution and receipt of child pornography via file sharing software. At the same time, Axelrod was at his home using a file sharing program, and 286 of his files were available for download. The detective downloaded several of the files, which contained visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
A subsequent search of Axelrod's home on Feb. 4, 2009, recovered a computer and external hard drive. A forensic analysis of the equipment revealed more than 600 images and movies documenting the sexual abuse of minors, including children under the age of 12.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok.