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Child Exploitation

South Florida man sentenced to 30 years on child exploitation charges

MIAMI - Scott Joseph Smith, 50, of Wilton Manors in Broward County, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas to 30 years in prison and a life long term of supervised release following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and members of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

On Jan. 28, Scott Joseph Smith pleaded guilty to charges of production, distribution and possession of child pornography.

According to court documents, an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent downloaded numerous images and video files depicting child pornography from Smith's computer via a peer-to-peer file sharing program.

A search warrant was executed at Smith's place of business. A forensic review of Smith's computer by ICE special agents revealed numerous images and video files depicting child pornography. Further investigation revealed that Smith sexually molested several minor victims at multiple locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties and recorded one instance of molestation via a digital camera.

The investigation was conducted by ICE's Office of Investigations, FBI Miami Field Office, Broward County Sheriff's Office, and members of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

ICE's involvement in the investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested almost 12,000 individuals through Operation Predator.

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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Strider Dickson.