RICHMOND, Va. - Carlos A. Santos, 56, of Richmond, Va., pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to receipt of child pornography. This case resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
According to court documents, Santos was detected by ICE agents in Cleveland, Ohio, attempting to trade child pornography images with an Ohio resident using an AOL email address. After obtaining email subscriber information and other corroborating information, ICE agents in Washington, D.C. executed a search warrant at the defendant's Richmond residence and recovered a computer hard drive, CD disks and floppy disks.
A subsequent forensic examination revealed thousands of images of child pornography and dozens of movies of child pornography saved on the computer hard drive and CD's. The recovered images and movies consisted of graphic depictions of minors being sexually abused, including minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct with adults. Evidence showed that the defendant used AOL to download the material from the Internet.
The sentencing of the defendant is scheduled for Oct. 15, 2009, before U. S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,600 individuals.
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.