MARTIN COUNTY MAN INDICTED ON FEDERAL CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Investigations, Miami Field Office, announced that Brian James Keith, 36, of Martin County, Fla., was indicted Thursday, March 4, on charges of transportation of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(1), and receipt of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2). Keith faces up to 20 years in prison, including a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Today, he was arraigned on the charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Lynch, Jr., who ordered him held without bond pending trial.
On Feb. 2, ICE special agents in Ft. Pierce conducted an Internet investigation into the international trafficking of child pornography via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks after ICE agents discovered that someone in Florida was sharing and sending images depicting minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. ICE agents determined that the subscriber to the suspect P2P networks was Brain Keith of Stuart, Fla.
ICE special agents notified the Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) of the investigation and the MCSO initiated a parallel investigation and was also able to download child pornography from Keith’s internet protocol (IP) address.
On Feb. 18, the MCSO executed a state search warrant with the assistance of ICE and seized computers and media. After a forensic examination of Keith’s tower computer, more than a hundred deleted images depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were recovered. On March 2, Keith was arrested pursuant to a federal arrest warrant and complaint.
This investigation 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 almost 12,000 individuals through Operation Predator.
Anyone with information about suspected child predators and any suspicious activity ca report the information to ICE’s 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.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States 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.
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of ICE's Office of Investigations in Ft. Pierce and the Martin County Sheriff’s Office in this matter. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.
An Indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.