• 57°

Jemison man sentenced for transporting sexually explicit photos

A federal judge in Louisiana sentenced a Jemison man last week to 10 years in prison for transporting sexually explicit photos of a minor.

Mario Duran, 50, of Jemison, was sentenced Oct. 28 by U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik on one count of transporting child pornography.

He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to register as a sex offender, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Louisiana.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Acadia Parish Sheriff’s deputies, while investigating another case, made contact with Duran in April of 2014 while he was parked in his truck in the Crowley, La., Walmart parking lot.

Present with Duran were two minor females, the release said.

The minors said they did not know Duran, and that he had picked them up in Alabama and he was transporting them to Texas to meet their father.

The vehicle was searched, and three cell phones were found.

Upon further investigation, law enforcement agents found sexually explicit pictures of a minor on one of the phones.

The images on the phone were not of the minors Duran was transporting.

“I would like to thank the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s officers and ICE agents for apprehending and removing this child predator from our streets,” Finley said. “Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute these types of crimes to protect our community.”

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice launched nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) encourage the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) DHS-2ICE. Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls.

Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online at www.ice.gov/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp or through the Operation Predator smartphone app.

Tips may be submitted anonymously.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamilla A. Bynog and Myers P. Namie prosecuted the case.