Former Harris County Deputy Arrested on Federal Child Pornography Charges
HOUSTON, Texas – A 30-year-old man who was residing in Spring has been taken into federal custody on charges of production of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Andrew Craig Sustaita was previously a Harris County deputy sheriff, but is no longer employed there.
A federal grand jury indicted Sustaita Feb. 1, 2017, on charges of production of child pornography. He was taken into custody today and is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Hanovice Palermo tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 and up to 30 years for producing child pornography. The charge is also punishable by a $250,000 maximum possible fine. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Sustaita could also face up to life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect the children and prohibit the use of the Internet. Sustaita would also be required to register as a sex offender upon conviction.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Zack is prosecuting the case, which 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 the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.