Allegations of Internet crime of a sexual nature are prosecuted aggressively in Texas. Recently a 31-year-old man from Lancaster pleaded guilty to shipping and transporting child pornography, and he could face a federal prison sentence of five to 20 years. He could also be fined $250,000 and have to be supervised by authorities for the rest of his life.
The Dallas Police Department has an Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, and officers in that unit will work online and undercover to gather evidence in child pornography cases. In this particular case, an undercover officer, in March 2012, reportedly downloaded sexually explicit material from the defendant's shared files.
That same month, Dallas police obtained a search warrant and entered the man's home and seized his property. Authorities claim to have found about 200 images of child pornography on the man's computer media. Investigators were apparently able to use those images to identify victims.
Authorities on the state and federal levels work together in Internet crime cases, and some investigations last months and even years. That means there is a good chance that investigators have a significant amount of evidence before they even file charges.
Any charge related to child pornography is extremely serious. Federal cases, however, require knowledge of the federal system and the state system of criminal justice.
No matter how serious the allegations, accused individuals have the right to a criminal defense. If a dismissal of charges isn't possible, then it may still be an option to have the charges or the penalties reduced.
Source: KETK NBC, "North Texas man pleads guilty to transporting and shipping child pornography," Sept. 16, 2013