LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Costa, Unit…

LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Costa, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and William T. Sims, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, announced today that defendant, William Heffernan, Jr. of Kendall, pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan to one count of distribution of child pornography. Heffernan’s arrest and conviction are part of “Operation Clean-Sweep,” an undercover operation initiated by the Miami Electronic Crimes Task Force and the U.S. secret Service to combat child exploitation on the Internet. Sentencing is scheduled for October 3, 2006.

In December of 2005, an undercover United States Secret Service agent, while logged into an Internet child exploitation chat room, was contacted by Heffernan. Heffernan, a registered sex offender, believing that the undercover agent was the mother of a pre-teen girl, engaged the undercover agent in sexually explicit Internet chats about children. These chats continued until May, 2006. During some of the chats, Heffernan sent the undercover agent digital files containing images of child pornography.

In May 2006, the Secret Service-led Miami Electronic Crimes Task Force agents, in conjunction with task force partners from the Special Victims Unit of the Miami Beach Police Department, executed a search warrant at Heffernan’s residence, and seized Heffernan’s computers. Heffernan was subsequently arrested after admitting 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. This case is being handled 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 www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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