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Press Release

Man Convicted of Receiving and Possessing Images of Child Sexual Abuse

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. – A federal judge convicted a Virginia Beach man today on charges of receipt and possession of child pornography.

According to court records and evidence presented at the bench trial, Augustin Dante Ezequiel Arce, 30, of Virginia Beach, was identified sharing images of child sexual abuse over a peer-to-peer network throughout 2017 and the first part of 2018. An Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force officer with the Harrisonburg Police Department downloaded images of child sexual abuse in an undercover capacity from Arce’s mobile devices. In August 2018, Arce was indicted by a federal grand jury. After being asked to turn himself in, Arce fled the district and was found several months later in southern California, living in a tent.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative 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 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

Ezequiel Arce faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison when sentenced on April 2, 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., and James A. Cervera, Chief of Virginia Beach Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen declared the verdict. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth M. Yusi and Daniel P. Shean are prosecuting the case.

The Harrisonburg Police Department provided significant assistance in the investigation.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:18-cr-121.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated December 18, 2019

Project Safe Childhood