Lancaster Man Faces Up to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Transporting and Shipping Child Pornography
DALLAS — Meliton Torres, 31, of Lancaster, Texas, pleaded guilty this morning, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney, to one count of transporting and shipping child pornography. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of not less than five or more than 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. Torres, who will remain on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced on December 18, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade. The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to plea documents filed in the case, Torres admitted using the Internet and file-sharing software to share and transmit images and video files of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In March 2012, an officer with the Dallas Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit, working online in an undercover capacity, downloaded images and videos from Torres’s shared files. On March 16, 2012, the Dallas Police Department executed a search warrant at Torres’s residence and seized computers and computer media, which were then analyzed by the North Texas Regional Computer Forensics Lab. More than 200 images and videos of child pornography were on the seized media. Of those, 23 images and 18 videos depicted victims who have been identified.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
The investigation was conducted by the Dallas Police Department’s ICAC and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks is in charge of the prosecution.
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