News and Press Releases

Defendant Copied and Transported Child Pornography from Disks Sold on Thailand Streets

July 18, 2008

BRUCE EDWARD SMITH, 43, a current resident of the Philippines, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 32 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release for Possession of Child Pornography. SMITH was arrested September 16, 2007, as he arrived at Sea-Tac airport, when Customs and Border Protection officers found four memory cards containing child pornography videos. As part of his sentence, Chief Judge Robert S. Lasnik ordered that SMITH be required to register as a sex offender when he is released from federal prison.

SMITH pleaded guilty on April 10, 2008, admitting that while on vacation in Thailand, he purchased 20 or 30 video compact disks from a street vendor. The disks had 42 videos of child pornography on them. SMITH played them on his TV and made copies using his digital video camera. Then he sold the disks back to the street vendor for about half what he had paid for them. SMITH told investigators he did not keep the disks as they had pictures on the outside cover making it clear the material was child pornography. At sentencing, Chief Judge Lasnik said that what SMITH did was a serious crime, and that the sentence sends a message to the community that this crime will not be tolerated.

In her sentencing memo Assistant United States Attorney Karyn Johnson noted that the market for child pornography leads to more child victims. “Viewing child pornography on the internet is, in itself, a serious offense, as it contributes to the marketplace for child pornography. Yet Defendant’s crime appears even more serious. While in Thailand, Defendant purchased video compact disks that contained videos of child pornography. When he bought the disks, Defendant knew that he was buying child pornography, as there were images of child pornography printed on the disks.” Johnson added that some of the children depicted on the disks were as young as two to four years old. Prosecutors endorsed a recommendation that SMITH undergo sex offender treatment as part of his sentence.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karyn Johnson.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office at (206) 553-4110.

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