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Feb. 12, 2010

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(HOUSTON) – Joseph Marshall Montross, 30, of Houston, has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison without parole for producing child pornography, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. 

United States District Judge Sim Lake handed down the 30 year sentence, imposed a $5,000 fine and ordered Montross serve a lifetime of supervised release at a hearing this afternoon. Montross has been ordered to register as a sex offender and will be prohibited from accessing the internet or visiting/attending any place where children under the age of 18 congregate for the duration of his term of supervised release.  

The charges against Montross are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and members of the Pasadena ISD Police Department, the lead agency in the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Montross has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest in June 2009 and will remain in custody to serve his sentence.

The ICE investigation began in February 2008 when ICE Houston was contacted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Internal Affairs concerning Montross. Montross had applied for a position with the CBP and was in Dallas to take a polygraph. During the polygraph interview, Montross admitted to possessing child pornography on his computer at home in Houston. On the same date, Houston ICE agents went to Montross’ residence and seized a laptop and some external hard drives. These items were submitted for forensic analysis.

In July, 2008, while reviewing the images and videos found during the forensic analysis, an ICE agent observed videos that contained child pornography and appeared to be made by Montross. Based on this information, federal agents went back to Montross’ residence on July 21, 2008, and searched for additional computers and equipment. The majority of the images and videos were found on the external hard drives. Montross admitted to federal agents that he made ten of the videos. Agents seized approximately 9,000 images and 107 videos most of which had been downloaded via the internet. The images included prepubescent females involved with bondage, penetration, oral sex and masturbation.

The images and videos were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) where over 40 identified victims were identified in the images found on Montross’ computer equipment.

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, 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

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Robert Stabe.


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