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child pornography trafficker sentenced to 210 months

August 7, 2013

WILMINGTON – United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that today in federal court, Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced MITCHELL BYRON HALES , 37, of Apex to 210 months imprisonment, followed by lifetime supervised release.  HALES had previously been employed by the Wake County public school system.

HALES pled guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography in January 2013.  Undercover investigators from the FBI found HALES online sharing images of child sexual abuse with others.  After obtaining a search warrant, the FBI conducted a forensic examination of HALES’ computer equipment, which  showed that HALES had amassed thousands of pictures and hundreds of videos of children being sexually abused, was communicating with others about the material, and had traded his collection extensively with others.

This case was part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level.  For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to

Investigation of this case was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the prosecution was coordinated with the Wake County District Attorney’s office.  Assistant United States Attorney Jay Exum prosecuted the case for the United States.



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