A 31-year-old man from Easton, Maine, was sentenced today to 1½ years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release for possessing child pornography.

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Zane Wetzel pleaded guilty on December 28, 2016. According to court records, on about May 14, 2015, Wetzel possessed image and video files depicting child pornography.  Some of these files, which he had purposely sought out and downloaded from the internet, depicted the sexual exploitation of prepubescent children under the age of 12.

At sentencing, Judge Woodcock said of the minors depicted: “these young girls from around the world, who have been subjected to this abuse, are somebody’s daughters.”  The judge went on to tell the defendant that his offense “is a serious crime that merits a significant penalty.”

The investigation was conducted by the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. 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 U.S. 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, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visitwww.projectsafechildhood.gov.