Elijah Fogle, 22, of Charlotte, N.C., was also ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release.
Fogle pleaded guilty July 30. He admitted he amassed a collection of child pornography on his computer and a thumb-drive that included hundreds of images and videos of children being sexually abused. He also admitted that he distributed and received child pornography images over the Internet by uploading them to a file-sharing website.
According to court documents, an undercover HSI special agent signed into a private peer-to-peer network in February 2012 and engaged in an online chat with a user later identified as Fogle. During the chat, Fogle advised he had folders on a flash drive to share and needed to be online to view them. That day, the agent selected 19 video files and discovered child exploitation activity. The downloaded files depicted children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. HSI special agents conducted a full forensic examination of the defendant's laptop computer and thumb drive. As a result of that examination, they recovered 835 images and 362 videos of child pornography, many of which depicted boys under 12 years old. The images and videos on the thumb drive were contained in a hidden folder which was created to avoid discovery. During an interrogation, Fogle admitted he had sexually abused a 12-year-old boy from his neighborhood in North Carolina.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.