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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 22, 2020

Naval petty officer indicted for possession, distribution of child pornography

Federal charges carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison

BRUNSWICK, GA:  A U.S. Navy petty officer stationed at Submarine Base Kings Bay has been indicted on child pornography charges by a U.S. District Court grand jury meeting in virtual session due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthony Gabriel Ortiz, 21, of Kings Bay, appeared in U.S. District Court on Friday before Magistrate Judge Benjamin W. Cheesbro, where he was denied bond and detained pending trial on charges of Distribution of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charges carry a penalty of up to 30 years in federal prison plus substantial financial penalties, followed by a period of supervised release and registration as a sex offender. There is no parole in the federal system.

“As our world becomes increasingly connected through cyberspace, there will always be those who would attempt to use these connections for illegal or exploitative purposes,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “We are grateful for the vigilance of our law enforcement partners in this country and beyond in preventing and interdicting those who would target our most vulnerable citizens.”

Ortiz is a petty officer third class in the U.S. Navy assigned to Submarine Base Kings Bay. Investigators with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police found images of child pornography shared via a messaging application and referred them to the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cyber Crimes Center, and HSI alerted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Ortiz was later taken into custody.

“It is disheartening to see the victimization of children,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama. “HSI will continue to prioritize working with its partners to bring these perpetrators to justice and protect the children of this community.”

“NCIS is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to pursue the creators and distributors of child pornography, in hopes of preventing the victimization of young children, many of whom who are scarred for life by the predatory actions of these perpetrators,” said Thomas Cannizzo, Special Agent in Charge of the NCIS Southeast Field Office. “NCIS is dedicated to combating child sexual crimes that endanger Department of the Navy families and children everywhere.”

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This investigation took place under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, and was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The case is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Kirkland and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator Tara M. Lyons.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Cyber Crime
Contact: 
Barry Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422.
Press Release Number: 
61-20
Updated May 22, 2020