TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Matthew Barousse, 37, was arrested Tuesday for possession and distribution of child pornography following a two-month investigation by the members of the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
ICAC members made up of special agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Leon County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) served a search warrant on Barousse's residence and seized computer equipment containing images and videos of pre-pubescent and pubescent children.
"Each child depicted in child pornography images is an innocent victim of those who produce, possess, transport and share child pornography," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa, Fla. "ICE will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify child predators and bring them to justice."
Task force members established contact with two other people living in the same residence, but were able to quickly rule them out as having had any involvement in this investigation.
Barousse was interviewed, arrested and taken to the Leon County Jail. The computer equipment is undergoing additional forensic examinations.
"We have a great working relationship with our local, state and federal partners and we are going to continue to aggressively investigate these types of cases," said Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell.
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.
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.