TUCSON, Ariz. — A Southern Arizona man was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy to receive child pornography and possession of child pornography, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Michael D. Flammond, 38, of Sierra Vista, was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins to 10 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release and registration as a sex offender. Flammond pleaded guilty to the charges Jan. 11.
According to court documents, in October 2006, a store clerk in Texas contacted authorities after he discovered images of child pornography on a laptop computer he had purchased from Flammond, who lived in Arizona. A forensic examination of the computer revealed approximately 344 images of child pornography as well as evidence that at least 16 additional images had been distributed on the Internet between February and July 2006.
Based on this evidence, the case was referred to law enforcement authorities in Arizona and HSI Douglas initiated an investigation. When interviewed by HSI special agents, Flammond admitted to owning the computer, downloading the images and to distributing child pornography in order to receive child pornography in return.
"Child pornography is not a victimless crime," said Javier Pacheco, assistant special agent in charge of HSI Douglas. "It preys on the most vulnerable and innocent segment of society – our children. Thanks to a tip from a concerned citizen and the hard work and dedication of HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners, this convicted sex offender will be serving a significant prison sentence."
HSI was assisted in the investigation by the Sierra Vista Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carin Duryee of the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona.
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-DHS-2ICE 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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
For more information, visit www.ice.gov.