PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Timothy Sorrell, 62, was arrested Tuesday by the Bay County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) Criminal and Special Investigations Division (SID) and special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on charges relating to the possession of child pornography and marijuana.
Since December 2010, investigators of the BCSO SID have been conducting an investigation into the downloading of child pornography via the Internet. Files have been identified by investigators which contained graphic images of the sexual performance of children, some less than 10 years of age.
When entry was made into the home on Tuesday, a computer was found in the process of downloading files of child pornography.
Sorrell was taken into custody and charged with nine counts of possession of the sexual performance of a child. A felony amount of marijuana was also found in the home, and Sorrell was additionally charged by SID narcotics officers with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school.
ICE HSI and the Bay County Sheriff's Office are part of the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and work proactively with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat the online exploitation of children.
The 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.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. 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.