LAKE CHARLES, La. –United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that Shannon Ray Smithers, 33, of Lake Charles, was sentenced on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi, to 120 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for possessing child pornography. He is also required to register as a sex offender.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea on January 16, 2014, the defendant admitted to possessing child pornography. Homeland Security Investigations’ agents became aware of Smithers’ possession of child pornography through an undercover operation. Smithers admitted to agents that he had previously possessed child pornography on his computer as far back as February 26, 2013, but later erased it.
Homeland Security Investigations, the Louisiana State Police, and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. McManus prosecuted the case.
This case 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) DHS-2ICE. Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls. Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp.