News and Press Releases

FORMER ARMY SERGEANT SENTENCED TO 15 ½ YEARS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2010

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office, and G. Matthew Immler, Chief, Boynton Beach Police Department, announced the July 27, 2010 sentencing of former Army sergeant Mark Anthony Garcia, 26, formerly of Texas. U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch sentenced Garcia to 15 ½ years in prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, on charges of transportation of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(1).

According to stipulated factual basis filed with the Court, on February 13, 2010, an undercover detective from the Boynton Beach Police Department, assigned to the South Florida Internet Crimes against Children (SFL-ICAC) Task Force, received an invitation from Garcia to join his peer-to-peer network. Once connected to the Garcia’s files, the detective observed that Garcia was offering to share videos and images that appeared to depict child pornography. Law enforcement then successfully downloaded from Garcia child pornography images via this file sharing program.

On February 26, 2010, law enforcement, aided by Army CID Special Agents assigned to the Schweinfurt, Germany Office, where Garcia was then serving as an army sergeant, arrested Garcia, who admitted to possessing and sharing child pornography on the internet with others.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Project Safe childhood was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, and is 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.

This investigation is part of ICE's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children. As part of 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.

This investigation is part of ICE's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children. As part of 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.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in West Palm Beach and the Boynton Beach Police Department. Mr. Ferrer also thanked SFL-ICAC. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Corey Steinberg and Rinku Tribuiani.

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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.

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