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Child Exploitation

San Diego man sentenced to more than 6 years on child pornography charges

SAN DIEGO - A local man has been sentenced to 80 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution to a child seen in one of the sexually explicit images found on his computer during a criminal investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Duc Minh Bui, a 34-year-old computer technician who formerly worked for IBM, was also ordered to register as a sex offender and pay restitution. The restitution order is the first in a child pornography case in the Southern District of California where the defendant was not involved in the manufacture of the sexually explicit image.

Bui pleaded guilty in September 2009 to a one-count criminal information charging him with receiving hundreds of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images included a file depicting a female child, approximately 3 to 6 years of age, being forced to engage in sexual acts with an adult male. Bui also admitted to possessing more than 600 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct involving acts of sadism and masochism.

The charges stem from a criminal investigation that began in 2008 when ICE agents in San Diego received a tip from the agency's Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va.

In December 2008, agents executed a federal search warrant at Bui's residence, seizing his computer, three external hard drives and various loose digital media. During an interview, Bui admitted he had downloaded child pornography.

"These sentences serve as a warning to other subscribers of child pornography who think they can hide behind the Internet," said Mike Carney, acting special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in San Diego. "Protecting our children from exploitation is a top priority for ICE."

Over the past five months, ICE agents have uncovered more than 49,000 images of child pornography and 1,800 videos from computers seized in 22 separate San Diego-area investigations.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 individuals.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity 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