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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Weston Man Sentenced To Fifteen Years In Prison For Child Pornography Crimes

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), announce that Thomas Edler, 49, of Weston, was sentenced yesterday to serve fifteen years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of transportation and possession of child pornography. Following his release from prison, Edler will be on supervised release for the remainder of his life and will also be required to register as a sex offender.

According to plea documents, in February 2013, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) requested the assistance of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in attempting to identify a child who appeared in numerous images of child pornography that had been recovered across the county. The images of this child had been previously identified and categorized by NCMEC as the “Dave” series, and had been recovered in numerous prior child pornography investigations. According to the data provided by NCMEC, the images had been produced between the approximate dates of June 16, 2001 and September 14, 2002. The South Florida ICAC detectives determined, through the utilization of various investigative techniques, that several of the “Dave” series images had been taken in the backyard of a residence located in Weston. Detectives then determined that the current owners of that residence were the defendant, Thomas Edler, and his wife, who also owned and occupied that residence during the time period when the “Dave” series images were taken (2001-2002). In addition, detectives learned that the Edlers have two minor children. Further investigation revealed that the child portrayed in the “Dave” series, who was between the ages of five and six when the images were taken, had been friendly with Edler’s son.

On April 9, 2013, HSI Fort Lauderdale Special Agents and South Florida ICAC Task Force members executed a federal search warrant at the Edler residence. Pursuant to the search warrant, several items of electronic media were seized including a Dell laptop computer belonging to the defendant. HSI Forensic Examiners conducted a complete forensic analysis of the computer and media devices taken during the search warrant. Results of the forensic examination resulted in the discovery of numerous images that had been taken by Edler depicting child pornography.

Subsequently, it was determined that Edler was responsible for producing another known series of child pornography referred to as the “Lil Charlie” series. The images depicted in the “Lil Charlie” series, a friend of the Edler family, were taken in July 2002 when the Edlers were visiting the child’s family in Rhode Island. After taking the images, the defendant knowingly transported the images to Broward County. The images depicted in the “Lil Charlie” series were later recovered in other child pornography investigations across the world.

Also pursuant to the investigation, it was determined that Edler had taken pictures of another minor while the Edler family was visiting that child’s family in Winter Springs in January 2002. The child depicted in those images was present at the sentencing hearing. In imposing the 15 year sentence, U.S. District Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum took into account what she deemed a credible allegation by this minor that, in addition to taking the pictures, Edler had touched him inappropriately.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and the South Florida ICAC. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Corey Steinberg and Francis Viamontes.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated March 12, 2015