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Texas man pleads guilty to federal child pornography offenses

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Texas man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to child pornography charges. The plea resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Randy Ray Wesson, 29, of Hurst, Texas pleaded guilty Feb. 18 to possessing and receiving child pornography. He faces a maximum statutory sentence on the possession charge of 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. On the receipt charge, he faces a statutory sentence of between five years and 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.

However, if the court accepts the plea agreement, the parties agree that the appropriate punishment in this case is no more than 30 years in federal prison. Sentencing is set for June 25 in federal court.

Wesson has been in custody since his arrest in November 2014 on related charges outlined in a federal criminal complaint.

According to the complaint, the investigation began when the Hurst Police Department received information from the Dallas Police Department’s Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) unit regarding a tip received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  That referral indicated that a particular Instagram member had uploaded an image of child pornography through their server June 7, 2014. The investigation revealed that Wesson was the owner of that account.

Officers with the Hurst Police Department executed a state search warrant at Wesson’s home Nov. 18, 2014, to search for and seize evidence of child pornography. Wesson was present during the search. A forensic examination revealed that Wesson’s desktop computer contained files visually depicting minors, including a prepubescent minor, engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

Further, according to the filed factual resume, on Feb. 9 Wesson used the Internet and Instagram to receive visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The Hurst Police Department assisted in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Saleem is prosecuting the case.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 12,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2014, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Author: Matrix Today
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