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Child Exploitation

North Texas man pleads guilty to transporting and shipping child pornography

DALLAS — A north Texas man pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney to one count of transporting and shipping child pornography.

This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by the Dallas Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit, and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Meliton Torres, 31, of Lancaster, Texas, who will remain on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18 by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of not less than five or more than 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.

According to plea documents filed in this case, Torres admitted using the Internet and file-sharing software to share and transmit images and video files of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In March 2012, an officer with the Dallas Police Department's ICAC Unit, working online in an undercover capacity, downloaded images and videos from Torres's shared files. On March 16, 2012, the Dallas Police Department executed a search warrant at Torres's residence and seized computers and computer media, which were then analyzed by the North Texas Regional Computer Forensics Lab. More than 200 images and videos of child pornography were discovered on the seized media. Of those, 23 images and 18 videos depicted victims who have been identified.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks, Northern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

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.