LUBBOCK, Texas — A west Texas man pleaded guilty Friday to one count of possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Justin Turcheck, 29, of Abilene, Texas, who is on bond, faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings ordered a presentence investigation report with a sentencing date to be set after that report is completed.
Turcheck admitted that in mid-June 2012 he possessed an external hard drive that contained numerous images of child pornography.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Abilene Police Department, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock, Texas, is prosecuting this 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 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, 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.
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.