Cantonment Man Sentenced on Child Pornography Conviction
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Mack S. Varnado, Jr., 32, of Cantonment, was sentenced Tuesday afternoon as a result of his guilty plea on February 7, 2013, to a federal indictment charging him with the receipt and transportation of child pornography. The sentencing was announced by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
On October 13, 2011, a cybertip was reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“NCMEC”) that sparked the local investigation. The report documented email messages containing child pornography being transmitted from an America Online (“AOL”) account in the Northern District of Florida. Specifically, on October 12, 2011, AOL detected that an email message was sent from the user “NohassleSN24” to Yahoo! subscriber “Hotassboxerboy@yahoo.com.” The message contained several child sexual exploitation images. Detective Chris Wilkinson, of the Pensacola Police Department, was able to trace this email message to Varnado at his residence in Cantonment, Florida. A total of fourteen illicit images had been sent by Varnado. All of the images depicted minor children between approximately ten and fourteen years old engaged in various sexual activities.
On or about January 13, 2012, Detective Wilkinson obtained a warrant to search the email account hosted by AOL, located in Dulles, Virginia. On January 18, 2012, AOL responded that Varnado maintained email messages, both sent and received, which had attachments of child pornography.
All this information led to a federal search warrant on Varnado’s residence in Cantonment. The defendant was present during the execution of the search warrant. Multiple pieces of digital media were seized. A forensic examination of Varnado’s digital media revealed images and videos of child pornography, matches for the screen name Nohasslesn24@aol.com, and matches to those images located in the “sent” mailbox linked to the email account used by Varnado.
Senior United States District Judge Roger Vinson sentenced Varnado to 60 months imprisonment to be followed by 6 years of supervised release. In addition, based upon Varnado sending and receiving child pornography from his residence in Cantonment, Judge Vinson ordered that Varnado forfeit his interest in the residence because it was used to facilitate the online crimes against children. This amounted to Varnado forfeiting $74,000 to the United States government.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Marsh said, “Protecting our children from the permanent scars left behind when this kind of exploitation occurs is critically important work. This prison sentence, along with the forfeiture ruling, should send a strong message of deterrence. We have the expertise to responsibly gather the necessary evidence to charge these cases, and the charges when proven beyond a reasonable doubt carry serious penalties under federal law.” She expressed her gratitude to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pensacola Police Department for their cooperation, dedication, and expertise in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to 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.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Goldberg of the Northern District of Florida.