EAST ST. LOUIS - Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that Hamza L. Nijmeh, 32, of O’Fallon, IL, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge David R. Herndon to 12 years imprisonment for one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography. The sentences will run concurrently with each other.

Judge Herndon also sentenced Nijmeh to 10 years of supervised release to follow the imprisonment and $6,500 in restitution to three identified victims of the child pornography images.

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According to court documents, in August 2015, law enforcement officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico received a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a New Mexico suspect who was trading child pornography online. An investigation by New Mexico authorities revealed that the suspect was trading child pornography with approximately 50 other individuals across the United States via group chats in a cellular phone messaging app.

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A subsequent investigation by agents with the Fairview Heights division of the FBI identified one of those 50 individuals as Nijmeh. The FBI investigation revealed that on August 14, 2015, Nijmeh received an image of child pornography and on August 15, Nijmeh distributed an image of child pornography. Both the distribution and receipt were conducted from Nijmeh’s cell phone. A forensic search of Nijmeh’s phone found 483 image files and 281 videos containing child pornography.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s
Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Fairview Heights division and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Hoell.

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