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April 27, 2022Tucson, AZ, United StatesChild Exploitation

Tucson man, repeat offender sentenced to 10 years for child pornography offense following ICE HSI investigation

TUCSON, Ariz. – A southern Arizona man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tucson office.

Zachary Zane Stephenson, 45, of Tucson, previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography.

“Because of the outstanding efforts of our HSI agents, a repeat offender guilty of exploiting vulnerable children will serve a lengthy federal prison sentence,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “HSI does not tolerate this type of behavior and will continue to prioritize these types of investigations to protect children and remove these offenders from our communities.”

On Oct. 28, 2020, Stephenson, who was on supervision at the time in connection with a similar prior conviction, was charged after he was found to be using his cellphone to access graphic child sexual abuse material. Upon release from prison, Stephenson will be placed on lifetime supervised release with stringent conditions of supervision. He will be required to register as a sex offender and to complete a sex offender treatment program.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carin C. Duryee and Erica L. Seger, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution

Learn more about HSI’s child exploitation mission @HSIPhoenix.

Updated: 04/29/2022