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Child Exploitation

South Florida resident arrested for receiving child pornography via the Internet

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and Sebastian Police Department detectives arrested a South Florida man yesterday on child pornography charges.

Daniel Anthony Smith, 46, of Sebastian, Fla., was arrested Aug. 3 on charges of receiving child pornography via the Internet. If convicted, Smith faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison. A detention hearing is scheduled on Aug. 11 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch.

According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 3, ICE special agents in Fort 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, ICE special agents and Sebastian Police Department detectives approached and interviewed Smith outside his residence. Initially, Smith denied having any child pornography on his computer. Subsequently, Smith allowed ICE 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 was in the process of downloading three video files with names indicative of child pornography. As well, several other video files with names indicative of child pornography were being uploaded via the peer-to-peer program. A forensic preview of the laptop computer revealed the presence of video clips depicting minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. A forensic preview of an external hard drive, recovered from Smith's laptop bag, revealed more than 40 additional video clips with names indicative of child pornography. Subsequently, Smith was arrested.

This 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 is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.