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Child Exploitation
08/30/2019

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Registered sex offender pleads guilty to child pornography charges in Kansas

Registered sex offender pleads guilty to child pornography charges in Kansas

WICHITA, Kansas — A registered sex offender from El Dorado pleaded guilty Thursday to production of child pornography and other child exploitation charges.

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, District of Kansas announced the plea. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Wichita (Kansas) Police Department, and the Kansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated the case with assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Elizabeth Township Police Department.

Daniel Eric Merida, 35, El Dorado, Kansas pleaded guilty to the following:

  • one count of producing child pornography
  • one count of distributing child pornography
  • one count of transporting child pornography
  • two counts of possessing child pornography
  • one count of sending obscene material to a minor.

In his plea, Merida admitted using the internet to contact a minor beginning in 2012 when she was 12 years old.

He used the internet to sexually exploit the victim, sending her obscene material and well as child pornography.

During a search in March 2018, he was found in possession of additional child pornography.

After his arrest in November 2018, a second search revealed the defendant had used online storage to transport more child pornography, and he was in possession of more child pornography on his phone.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 18, 2019. The government has agreed to argue for a sentence of no more than 40 years in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart, District of Kansas, is representing the government.

This investigation was conducted under 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 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2017, more than 2,700 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 900 victims identified or rescued.

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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

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.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/03/2019