Colorado man sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography
DENVER — A Colorado man was sentenced Thursday to serve 10 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.
This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, District of Colorado; and Special Agent in Charge Steve Cagen, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Denver.
Michael Lyle Blair, 64, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was also ordered to serve seven years on supervised release after he completes his prison sentence, and he must pay restitution totaling $21,000. The defendant, who appeared at the sentencing on bond, was remanded into custody immediately after the hearing.
Blair was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on March 16, 2017. He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Christina M. Arguello on Nov.3, 2017; he was sentenced May 17, 2018.
The testimony given during the sentencing hearing, as well as court documents filed in this case, demonstrated the defendant collected more than 700,000 images of child pornography and was involved in a decades-long pattern of sexually abusing minors.
Blair came to law enforcement attention when his wife, Sona Blair, was the target of an HSI money-laundering investigation. HSI had reason to believe she was deriving money from the international trafficking of Asian females and their prostitution. A state search warrant was executed at the Blair residence in December 2013. During the search warrant execution, HSI special agents seized an external hard drive. A forensic review of the drive showed it stored images of child pornography.
Two additional state search warrants were obtained for evidence of child pornography on the hard drive and at the residence. The residence was searched again in January 2014 and a second computer was seized. A forensic review of the hard drive revealed that the defendant had downloaded about 700,000 images of child pornography, including images of prepubescent children being bound or sexually abused. The images were stored in multiple folders with names containing descriptions such as “Hardcore Childporn.” The hard drive also contained hundreds of pages of stories that described the abduction or sexual abuse of children.
“Blair stole more than innocence with the 700,000 images he obtained. For years he left a trail of silent victims,” said U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. “With this sentence, those victims are finally heard. And Blair will pay every day for the next ten years in federal prison.”
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts, the office’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2017, more than 2,700 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 900 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
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