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Child Exploitation

Northern California man sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for trafficking child pornography

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A northern California man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for possessing, receiving and transporting visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Manuel Vasquez, 34, of Roseville, Calif., was sentenced Friday on the charges stemming from an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Sacramento-based Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Vasquez admitted in his guilty plea in August 2009 that on two separate occasions, he transported child pornography. He also admitted receiving and possessing child pornography. According to court documents, Vasquez came to the attention of law enforcement when an email address belonging to him was identified as accessing a child pornography Web site in March 2008.

When federal agents executed a search warrant at Vasquez's Roseville home, they seized computers and hard drives that were later found to contain child pornographic images and videos.  The analysis of those computer hard drives revealed Vasquez had more than 34,000 images and 900 videos of child pornography. Many of the videos and images possessed by the defendant depicted known and previously identified minor victims of child sexual abuse, as documented by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In addition to his prison sentence, Vasquez was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to one of the victims depicted in the images he possessed and made available to others.

The investigation into Vasquez is the result of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE initiative to identify, investigate, and arrest those who prey on children, and the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood (PSC).

Additional information about Operation Predator is available on the Web at http://www.ice.gov. ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators 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.

PSC is a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by U. St. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC mobilizes federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information, visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.