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NORFOLK, VA—Cole Machado, 25, of Eureka, California, was sentenced today in Norfolk federal court to 327 months in prison and lifetime supervised release for production child pornography.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after Machado was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith. Machado previously pled guilty to the charge on September 20, 2011.
According to court documents, in November and December of 2009, Machado produced child pornography involving two different minors and also distributed images of child pornography to a local man in Norfolk. Machado was identified when the Norfolk man, who was previously sentenced for distribution of child pornography, possessed images of child pornography that Machado had sent to him and that Machado had produced himself while in California.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in California. Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.
Eureka man pleads guilty to child pornography charges: Cole Machado faces 30 years in federal prison
A 25-year-old Eureka man faces between 15 and 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to producing child pornography.
Cole Jack Machado was arrested in June at his Quaker Street home in Eureka and faced two counts of producing and six counts of distributing child pornography but entered his guilty plea to the single count Tuesday, avoiding trial.
As a part of his plea, Machado signed a statement indicating he is making the plea because he is “in fact guilty of the charged offense” and agreed to a “statement of facts.” According to the statement, Machado persuaded, induced, enticed or coerced John Does 1 and 2, both minors, “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” for the purpose of creating child pornography. Both offenses are alleged to have occurred in Eureka -- the first on Nov. 25, 2009, and the second on Dec. 12 of that year.
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office detectives served a search warrant on Machado's home in July 2010 based on information that he was in possession of child pornography and seized computers, cell phones, thumb drives and memory cards. As part of the investigation, detectives also were told that Machado was potentially involved in the distribution of child pornography with a man named Jakob Lee, 25, of Norfolk, Va., according to court documents.
Lee, a certified psychiatric technician for the U.S. Navy who is originally from Eureka, pleaded guilty in March in the Eastern District of Virginia federal court to two counts of distribution of child pornography and was sentenced earlier this month to 30 years in prison, court documents show.
Law enforcement began investigating Lee after an undercover agent contacted him in an Internet chat room, where Lee went by the name “Purpletrim420” and shared more than 400 images of child pornography. According to court documents, Lee also confessed to authorities that he molested 25 boys.
According to court documents, Lee traveled from Portsmouth, Va., in June 2010 and spent several days visiting Machado in Eureka. When contacted by authorities in December 2010, Lee told officers that he had molested a 9-year-old in California and that he was sent sexually explicit images of the child and another child by Machado, showing officers the images on his computer.
That spawned an investigation of Machado, according to the documents.
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