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Child Exploitation

San Diego-area college student sentenced to 10 years on child pornography charges

SAN DIEGO — A Spring Valley college student was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to 10 years in prison on child pornography charges, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Anthony Michael Gonzales, 23, pleaded guilty in December to one count of receiving images of child pornography. As part of his sentence, Gonzales will be required to serve a five-year period of supervised release following his incarceration, pay $50,000 in restitution to a victim, and register as a sex offender upon completion of his prison term.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in October 2011 through March 2012, HSI special agents in San Diego identified an Internet Protocol address on a peer-to-peer file sharing program that was being used to trade files suspected of containing child pornography.

In May 2012, the special agents executed a search warrant at Gonzales' residence and seized his laptop computer. A forensic examination of the laptop uncovered approximately 170 videos and 22,300 images of suspected child pornography, including depictions of children in bondage and children under 2 years old.

Gonzales was taken into federal custody in June 2013, in Temecula, California. At the time of his arrest, Gonzales was carrying a thumb drive, which HSI subsequently determined also contained sexually explicit images of children.

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. 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 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.