LAWFUEL – Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, Unite…

LAWFUEL – Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and William T. Sims, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, announced that defendant William Heffernan, Jr., 26, of Kendall, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan earlier today to 78 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography. Heffernan’s arrest is part of “Operation Clean-Sweep,” an undercover operation initiated by the Miami Electronic Crimes Task Force in an attempt to combat child exploitation on the Internet.

In December of 2005, an undercover United States Secret Service agent, while logged unto an Internet chat room, was contacted by Heffernan. Heffernan, a registered sex offender, believed the undercover agent was the mother of a preteen girl, and engaged the undercover agent in sexually explicit Internet chats about children. These chats continued until May 2006. During some of these chats, Heffernan sent the undercover agent digital files containing images of child pornography. The defendant sent these images in an effort to engage in sexual activity with the undercover agent’s purported preteen daughter.

In May 2006, United States Secret Service Agents with the Miami Electronic Crimes Task Force, assisted by task force partners from the Special Victims Unit of the Miami Beach Police Department, executed a search warrant at Heffernan’s residence. Agents seized Heffernan’s computers. Heffernan was subsequently arrested after he admitted possessing and distributing child pornography.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the United States Secret Service’s Miami Electronic Crimes Task Force and the Special Victims Unit of the Miami Beach Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karlyn J. Hunter.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/ .

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