PRESCOTT, Ariz. — A northern Arizona man faces 13 counts of child pornography possession and distribution following his arrest at his Prescott home Thursday by Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies and special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
George F. Harb, II, 56, appeared in Prescott Justice Court Thursday, where he was charged in a preliminary complaint. His case is pending in Yavapai County Superior Court.
"This arrest should serve as a warning to those who would seek to hide behind a computer in order to sexually exploit children," said Jeremy Jolles, resident agent in charge of HSI Flagstaff. "HSI, along with our law enforcement partners at the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, are committed to protecting our communities by bringing suspected child predators to justice."
HSI special agents and Yavapai County Sheriff's Office detectives developed information that pornographic images of very young children were being distributed from computers located in Harb's home in Prescott. Authorities served a state search warrant at the house Thursday and discovered thousands of images depicting the sexual exploitation of children under the age of 15, including some images depicting the molestation of children who appear to be younger than five years old.
Harb was subsequently booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center.
A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is part of HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.
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.