October 4th, 2007 05:30 EST
St. Louis predator sentenced to 30 years in jail for attempted child exploitation
SHREVEPORT, La. - A St. Louis, Missouri man has been sentenced here in the Western District of Louisiana to 20 years in jail for attempted child exploitation and 10 years in jail for possession of child pornography following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Northwest Louisiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force which consists of state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies.
Michael Lines, 50, was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Sept. 13, 2007 by United States District Judge Maurice Hicks. Both sentences were mandated to run concurrently. The 10-year sentence was issued out of the Eastern District of Missouri.
Lines was also sentenced to five years supervised release for the Western District of Louisiana charge and three years supervised release for the Eastern District of Missouri charge.
Lines, who was previously convicted in 1973 for contributing to the sexual delinquency of a child, was arrested on July 28, 2006 by ICE agents after he drove from Missouri to Louisiana to engage in sexual acts with an underage child. During the course of the post arrest interview, Lines stated that he had intended to engage in sexual acts with the 14-year-old-girl and planned to photograph the acts with a digital camera he had brought with him from Missouri. He also stated that he planned to trade the photographs with others on the Internet.
ICE agents in St. Louis executed a federal search warrant shortly after Lines was arrested and seized a desktop computer and several pieces of digital media. Child pornography was discovered on the seized items following a forensic examination conducted by ICE.
"This sentencing sends a clear message that ICE will not tolerate child exploitation," said Michael A. Holt, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans. "We will continue using all of our resources to identify those who prey on children and possess, produce and distribute child pornography. We will not rest until we bring them to justice."
Michael Lines accepted a global plea on March 6, 2007 and was convicted of the above charges.
Lines' arrest was part of Operation Predator, a comprehensive ICE initiative aimed at those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Since the initiative was launched in July of 2003, there have been more than 10,000 individuals arrested nationwide.
Additional information about Operation Predator is available on the Web at http://www.ice.gov. ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
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