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Press Release

Yancey County Man Sentenced To More Than 21 Years In Prison For Producing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
Another Defendant Also Sentenced in Separate Case

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – On Thursday, May 28, 2015 U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Patrick Ronald Silva, 44, of Burnsville, N.C. to 262 months in prison on production of child pornography charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Silva was ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release, to register as a sex offender, and to pay $6,000 as restitution to his victim.

Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas, and Sheriff Gary Banks of the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

In June 2014, Silva pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography.  According to court documents and statements made in court, from May 26, 2012 to June 26, 2012, in Yancey County, Silva solicited his co-defendant, Tabatha Black, to produce child pornography of a female minor.  Court records indicate that Silva then distributed the child pornography via the Internet and e-mail.  Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Silva’s residence, and seized his computer and cellular phones.  A forensic examination of the seized items revealed that they contained images and videos of child pornography.  Silva has been in federal custody since April 2014.  Black was sentenced in February 2015 to 210 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, after pleading guilty to one count of production of child pornography.

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Judge Reidinger also sentenced a second defendant today on child pornography charges.  Robert George Ross, 29, of Old Fort, N.C. was sentenced to 60 months in prison, a lifetime of supervised release, and was ordered to register as a sex offender.  According to court records, in July 2013 in McDowell County, Ross received and possessed images depicting child pornography. Court records show that Ross possessed approximately 800 images of child pornography as well as numerous videos. Ross pleaded guilty in October 2014 to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography.  He has been in federal custody since April 2014.  The case was investigated by HSI, the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office, and the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office.

In announcing today’s sentences, Acting U.S. Attorney Rose said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities from child predators.  Victimizing innocent children is repulsive and in all instances will receive swift and forceful attention from my office.” Rose also thanked all the law enforcement agencies that investigated these cases for their outstanding work.

The defendants will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. 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

Updated May 29, 2015

Project Safe Childhood