Thomas Edler, 48, has been charged with three counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. According to documents filed with the court, in February, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) requested the assistance of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to help identify a child who appeared in numerous images of child pornography that had been recovered across the county. These images had been previously identified and categorized by NCMEC as the "Dave" series. During the investigation, HSI special agents and sheriff's office detectives assigned to the task force determined that the images in the "Dave" series were taken at Edler's residence.
On April 9, HSI special agents and sheriff's office detectives executed a federal search warrant at Edler's residence and seized digital media. A forensic analysis revealed numerous images of children under the age of 12 in sexually suggestive poses. These images were taken with a camera belonging to Edler. Subsequent forensic investigation revealed that a camera belonging to Edler was also used to photograph a series of child pornography images categorized by NCMEC as the "Lil Charlie" series. At least one child featured in this series has not been identified.
If convicted, Edler faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
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 1-866-347-2423 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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.