Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Four child-porn images allegedly found on ICE chief's home computer

Originally found here.

Four child-porn images allegedly found on ICE chief's home computer

By Jay Weaver

The Miami Herald

Updated: 11:37 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Posted: 6:14 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for South Florida has been placed on paid administrative leave, as federal agents investigate four images of child pornography he allegedly received on his home computer via an AOL e-mail account, according to sources familiar with the probe.

Broward Sheriff's Office and FBI investigators seized Anthony V. Mangione's computer from his Parkland residence Saturday after obtaining a search warrant based on an alert from AOL, Mangione's Internet service provider. Sources said Mangione, 50, who has headed the ICE regional office since 2007, was not believed to have received the pictures in connection with any ICE investigation.

The Justice Department probe could take a while to complete as investigators determine whether Mangione sent, received or distributed illegal digital images of children. "It's going to take some time forensically to examine the computer," a federal law enforcement official said.

AOL, which monitors the distribution of child pornography by its users, alerted a national nonprofit resource center about the images allegedly sent to Mangione's computer in recent weeks, sources said. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children then forwarded the information to a multi-agency task force that investigates child-porn distribution over the Internet.

Investigators issued a subpoena to AOL to find out the identity and computer address of the account user who allegedly received the four images, sources said. The information provided the legal basis for the FBI to obtain the search warrant to enter Mangione's home and seize his computer. Authorities also have seized his computer from ICE's office in west Miami-Dade.

"Internet service providers, including AOL, are required by federal law to report apparent violations of the child pornography laws to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which works with the Department of Justice," said former Miami federal prosecutor Ryan Stumphauzer. In 2007, he won the conviction of a Biscayne Park man for producing and distributing child-porn over the Internet.

"To comply with this obligation, AOL and other Internet service providers use sophisticated software to detect suspected child pornography images based upon their unique digital fingerprints," Stumphauzer said.

During the past decade, ICE has aggressively targeted child pornography, with Mangione frequently speaking out against "predators'' who illegally share images through their computers. ICE also investigates migrant smuggling, illegal weapons exports, terrorism and drug trafficking.

Mangione could not be reached for comment. There are no court records indicating that he has been charged with any crime.

The ICE office in Washington, D.C., declined to comment and referred questions to the Department of Justice. Justice spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment, as did Miami FBI spokesman Mike Leverock.

As special agent in charge of ICE's South Florida office, Mangione often lauded the agency's efforts to fight child pornography in both the cyber and real worlds.

Mangione was planning to retire this summer. He has served his entire 27-year federal career with ICE and its predecessor, the U.S. Customs Service.