Concurrent federal investigations bring down exploitation ring
On Wednesday, May 7 we honored law enforcement from across the U.S. for their work to protect children. Check out all the case summaries on our blog.
Between 2010 and 2013, three separate concurrent investigations involving the FBI, ICE/HSI, the USPIS, and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, brought down an international child sexual exploitation ring and recovered a child from sex trafficking.
The case started when a user, later identified as Edward Desear, was discovered sharing child sexual abuse images online via a peer to peer network. A separate investigation into an international sexual predator network linked Desear to chats describing the abuse of a child. Following a search warrant, the five-year-old child was placed in the custody of California Child Protective Services. In the meantime, a third investigation was underway on a man named Donn Casper, for buying child porn online. While executing a search warrant on Casper’s residence, investigators recovered a child who was the victim of sexual exploitation. Casper admitted to being a part of an online group of offenders, which led investigators to the arrest of another predator, John Rex Powell.
Knowledge of this “ring” of offenders tied all three cases together. Members would share tens of thousands of illicit images via encrypted hard drives mailed through the US Postal Service.
In June 2013, Desear was sentenced to 40 years in prison and in December 2013, as part of the FBI investigation, Desear pled guilty to Sex Trafficking of Children and Distribution of Child Pornography and was sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison. Desear also agreed to pay $1 million to the victim.
Congratulate the United States Postal Inspection Service, FBI, ICE and Department of Justice.