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Press Release

Moore County, Texas, Man Sentenced on Federal Obscenity Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

AMARILLO, Texas — Bassam Arif Al Zarkani, 33, of Dumas, Texas, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to 27 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in July 2015 to one count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Al Zarkani has been in custody since his arrest in April 2015.

According to documents filed in the case, on approximately April 14, 2015, Al Zarkani sent a “friend request” to an undercover officer’s Facebook account, and the undercover officer accepted that friend request.  Al Zarkani and the undercover officer exchanged messages and in response to Al Zarkani’s inquiry, the undercover officer responded, “single…no kids thank god…im 15.”

The conversation turned sexual in nature and Al Zarkani sent the undercover officer a sexually explicit photo of himself, and for almost two weeks, Al Zarkani and the undercover officer, whom Al Zarkani believed was a 15-year-old female, sent private messages to each other through Facebook.  During the conversations, Al Zarkani warned the undercover officer to keep him a secret from her dad and not tell anyone about him until she is 18 years old.  On April 28, 2015, a meeting site was established, and Al Zarkani traveled from Dumas to Amarillo, Texas, to meet the girl.  He was arrested when he arrived at the meeting location.

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  For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Amarillo Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety investigated.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Frausto prosecuted.

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Updated September 8, 2015

Project Safe Childhood