News and Press Releases

Port St. Lucie Resident Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison on Charges of Receipt and Transportation of Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kenneth Mascara, Sheriff, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, announce the sentencing of defendant Joshua Adams Bagala, 25, of Port Saint Lucie. At yesterday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham sentenced Bagala to ten years in prison on charges of receipt and transportation of child pornography.

According to the criminal complaint and evidence presented to the Court for sentencing, on April 16, 2013, a Nebraska State Patrol Sergeant, who is a member of the Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Force, was acting in an undercover capacity, investigating the online exploitation of children on the internet and persons who knowingly distribute visual depictions of sexually explicit conduct involving children. While posing as a 14 year-old female in an online children’s chat room, the undercover investigator was contacted by Bagala. During the ensuing private chat, Bagala uploaded two graphic child pornography videos. The screen name and I.P. address was traced to Bagala’s residence in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

On April 26, 2013, law enforcement executed a Florida state search warrant at Bagala’s residence and seized several items of electronic media. A forensic examination revealed numerous images of child pornography. A subsequent search warrant executed at Yahoo! Inc. revealed hundreds of instant messenger chat logs where Bagala was in contact with numerous individuals, holding themselves out to be minors, discussing trading and downloading child pornography videos. During one such chat, Bagala claimed to be a talent agent looking for underage girls to perform in underage porn movies. Bagala claimed he was looking for girls between the ages of 9 to 17.

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 Attorney’s 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. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, the South Florida Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and the Nebraska State Patrol. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.

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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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