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Child Exploitation

Polk County man charged with possessing child pornography

TAMPA, Fla. — A Polk County man was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography Monday. His arrest stemmed from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Lake Alfred Police Department.

If convicted, Eleftherios "Ted" Zachariadis, 46, of Lake Alfred, faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to the complaint, an undercover law enforcement officer downloaded multiple child pornography files from an Internet Protocol address connected to Zachariadis' residence. On Monday, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at the residence. Zachariadis had more than 900 images and more than 200 videos depicting child pornography in his possession.

A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

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.