An Albuquerque man was sentenced Thursday to 120 years in federal prison for producing, distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography resulting from him sexually molesting two toddlers.
Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case.
Michael Dameon Blackburn, 31, was also ordered to pay $430,800 in restitution to the two children who were victims of his criminal conduct; he must register as a sex offender if he is ever released from prison.
HSI special agents arrested Blackburn in December 2013 on a criminal complaint charging him with producing and distributing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, between March and December 2013.
In January 2014, a federal grand jury filed a five-count indictment charging Blackburn with distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography, and two counts of producing child pornography.
The indictment alleged that Blackburn committed these offenses in Bernalillo County between January and December 2013.
The investigation leading to the charges against Blackburn began Nov. 15, 2013, when HSI Albuquerque special agents received information from the HSI Cyber Crimes Center about a pornographic image of a young child victim who might be in the Albuquerque area.
HSI’s investigative efforts identified a residence in northeast Albuquerque as a possible location for the person who may have distributed the pornographic image of the young child victim.
Court filings indicate that on Dec. 17, 2013, law enforcement officers conducted a welfare check at the residence and made contact with Blackburn and two 2-year-old children, a girl and a boy, who were left in Blackburn’s care while their parents were out of town.
The officers learned that Blackburn had been sexually molesting the toddlers from at least March through December 2013, taking photographs and making videos of the toddlers while he molested them.
They also learned that Blackburn emailed the pornographic images and videos of the toddlers to others. The two young victims were immediately removed from the residence and put into protective custody.
Blackburn pleaded guilty March 14, 2016, to all five counts of the indictment. In his plea agreement, Blackburn admitted distributing a video of a female toddler being forced to perform a sexual act on an adult male.
He also admitted receiving a video of a male toddler being forced to perform a sexual act with an adult male and possessing a pornographic image of a female toddler. Blackburn also acknowledged producing pornographic images of a female toddler and a male toddler.
“HSI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners, as we did in this case, to keep our children safe and our communities strong against these heinous crimes and criminals,” said Waldemar Rodriguez, special agent in charge for HSI El Paso.
“This is our message to those who prey on children: we will find you, we will bring you to justice and we will make you answer for your despicable crimes.”
The Bernalillo County, New Mexico, Sheriff’s Office and the Albuquerque Police Department assisted in this investigation.
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 16,000 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 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
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.
(Make it hard for predators to hide; download the Operation Predator app today from iTunes or Google Play. Courtesy of ICE and YouTube)
Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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 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.