Bessemer Man Sentenced on Child Pornography Charges
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge today sentenced a Bessemer man on child pornography charges, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger.
U.S. District Court Judge Annemarie C. Axon sentenced Michael Lawrence Garcia-Torres, 29, to 188 months in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release. In September 2020, Garcia-Torres pleaded guilty to one-count of transportation of child pornography and one-count of possession of child pornography. This conviction will require him to register as a sex offender in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
According to the plea agreement, Dropbox reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that images and videos of child pornography were uploaded between September 21, 2017 and February 15, 2018, to an account belonging to Garcia-Torres. As a result, a federal search warrant was obtained for his Dropbox account which revealed 405 images and 19 videos of child pornography. Federal agents also obtained a search warrant for his residence, and Garcia-Torres possessed 1,295 images and 85 videos of child pornography on his electronic devices.
“Today’s sentence is the result of the continued dedication by our prosecutors and law enforcement partners to protect the victims of child exploitation,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “I encourage anyone who may have information about possible child sexual exploitation, including posts on social media, to report it to the NCMEC at CyberTipline.org or by calling 1-800-THE-LOST.”
“Child exploitative material is a major threat to our community and something we must all work to eradicate,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Every time these images are viewed or shared it continues to victimize and steal the innocence of the subject.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case, along with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and Bessemer Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Leann White prosecuted the case.