HARRISBURG - Russell Oberther, 50, of Wellsboro, Pa., was sentenced on August 25 for possession of child pornography to 36 months in federal prison and ten years of supervised release. Oberther was snared by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in an operation investigating foreign internet sales of child pornography.
The court records show Oberther used a credit card to purchase access to several known child pornography websites. Using this information, special agents from ICE's Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) obtained a search warrant for his residence in April 2008 and seized Oberther's computer. The agents discovered images of child pornography involving prepubescent minors and a video clip on the hard drive depicting a minor engaged in sexual acts.
The investigation that led to this case 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 more than 12,800 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.