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Child Exploitation

South Florida man sentenced to 15 years for possessing child pornography

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A south Florida man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on Monday for distributing and receiving child pornography via the Internet, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Sebastian Police Department.

U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez also sentenced Daniel Anthony Smith, 46, to a lifetime of supervised release. Smith's laptop computer and external hard drive was also forfeited. Smith faced a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison.

ICE HSI special agents in Ft. Pierce and officers from the Sebastian Police Department were following up on a tip from Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers that Smith possessed child pornography on his laptop computer. Based on this information, the agents and officers approached and interviewed Smith outside his Sebastian residence. Initially, Smith denied having any child pornography on his computer and he allowed the ICE HSI agents to examine the laptop computer in his living room.

The examination of the laptop computer in Smith's living room revealed that Smith was running a peer-to-peer software program, and he was in the process of downloading three video files with names indicative of child pornography. In addition, several other video files with names indicative of child pornography were being uploaded to the Internet via the peer-to-peer program. After Smith's arrest, a forensic examination of the laptop computer revealed the presence of video clips depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

A forensic examination of Smith's external hard drive, recovered from Smith's laptop bag, revealed more than 46 additional videos of varying lengths of child pornography.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest aimed at those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger, Southern District of Florida, prosecuted this case.