The arrest was announced by U. S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, ICE Special Agent in Charge William Winter; Chief Roberto L. Hylton of the Prince George's County Police Department; and Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey.
"Child predators targeting our most vulnerable members of society is a serious matter and even more disturbing when it involves a school bus driver," said Special Agent in Charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Baltimore William Winter. "ICE is committed to apprehending individuals who sexually exploit our children and deprive them of their innocence. We will continue working with federal, state and local agencies to investigate such reprehensible actions."
"An abused child was promptly identified and a suspect was arrested thanks to a vigilant citizen and remarkable detective work by police and federal agents," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "This case demonstrates the value Project Safe Childhood brings by joining local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and making it a priority to identify unknown abused children and prosecute pedophiles who abuse them."
According to court documents, on March 15, 2010, a patron of a 7-11 convenience store located on Coventry Way in Clinton, Md., found a microSD card on the check-out counter. The store clerk said the item did not belong to him, so the patron took the microSD card home. The patron viewed the contents of the card and discovered 10 to 15 videos of an adult male engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a little boy.
Court documents further allege that within an hour of finding and viewing the microSD card, the patron contacted the Prince George's County Police Department and informed them of the videos. That same day, Prince George's County police recovered the store surveillance tape for the time period when the microSD card was discovered. The patron also turned over the microSD card to police, and law enforcement viewed additional videos on the card, allegedly documenting similar sexual abuse of the young child.
According to court documents, on May 21, 2010, ICE agents conducted a forensic analysis of the microSD card and worked with officials from Prince George's County to identify the minor in the videos. ICE agents also identified the man in the videos as Smallwood. On May 21, 2010, Smallwood was arrested by ICE agents at the Brandywine bus depot. At the time, Smallwood was employed as a Prince George's County school bus driver, including for the elementary schools.
Smallwood faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for producing child pornography, followed by supervised release up to life. Smallwood had his initial appearance today in federal court in Greenbelt at 1:45 p.m. and is detained pending his detention hearing on May 26, 2010, at 4:00 p.m.
A complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
This case was brought as part of ICE's Operation Predator and Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Details about Maryland's program are available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.
The public is encouraged to report suspected child predators and suspicious activity by contacting ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE; and NCMEC, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
U. S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf, who is prosecuting the case, and commended Prince George's County Assistant State's Attorney Renee Battle Brooks who assisted in the investigation and prosecution.