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Child Exploitation

North Las Vegas man sentenced to 15 years for child pornography crimes

LAS VEGAS - A convicted sex offender, who was previously found guilty of possessing and transmitting images and movies of child pornography over the Internet, has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Ezra Hallock, 43, of North Las Vegas, Nev., was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan to 180 months in prison and lifetime supervised release on the charges stemming from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Hallock was convicted in May of receiving and possessing child pornography following a two-day jury trial. His prior felony conviction in Idaho for sexual abuse of a minor made him subject to a 15-year minimum mandatory sentence under federal law.

"For the second time in a week, a defendant has been sentenced to 15 years minimum in prison for a federal child pornography conviction in Nevada," said Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada. "Convicted sex offenders who think they can sexually abuse children through the use of technology will be tracked down by federal, state and local investigators, and face stiff penalties when caught."

In 2005, ICE HSI agents in Seattle began an investigation into individuals who were using Google's "Hello" program to send and receive digital child pornography images over the Internet to a Washington state resident. Investigators determined Hallock was one of the individuals distributing the images. ICE HSI agents searched Hallock's North Las Vegas residence in October 2006, and recovered two laptop computers, 13 computer hard drives, more than 1,300 media storage devices and approximately 600 images and movies of child pornography. Hallock was arrested Dec. 17, 2006, following his indictment by a federal grand jury. He has been in federal custody ever since.

"Every time a sexually explicit image of a minor is produced, transmitted, or viewed, a child is victimized," said Richard Curry, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE Office of HSI in Las Vegas. "We will continue to work tirelessly to seek justice for those who mistakenly believe the Internet makes them invisible and invincible."

ICE HSI's participation in this investigation is part of the agency's initiative known as Operation Predator, an ongoing enforcement effort targeting those who sexually exploit children. 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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Nancy J. Koppe and Roger Yang. The prosecution was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice. Led by U. S. Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the U.S. Department of Justice, 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.