HOUSTON – A 31-year-old former law enforcement official has been ordered to federal prison for more than 27 years following his convictions of production and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Andrew Craig Sustaita, of Spring, pleaded guilty as charged March 15, 2018. He was previously a Harris County deputy sheriff at the time of the offense, but is no longer employed there.
Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake sentenced Sustaita to 240 and 87 months for the production and possession convictions, respectively. The sentences will run consecutively for a total 327-month term of imprisonment. Additional information was also presented today, including a victim impact statement presented by victim’s mother in the production count. She detailed how Sustaita’s acts have victimized her daughter/family/friends and that what has happened to them encompasses the true meaning of the term evil. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that this was one of the most disturbing cases over which he had presided. Sustaita will serve the rest of his life on supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
There were 70 known series of child pornography identified on Sustaita’s devices. The court granted the government 90 days to determine if any of those victims are seeking restitution.
At the time of his plea, Sustaita admitted he posted child erotica images to a known child pornography website and had commented on other similar images on that same site. The investigation led to Sustaita whose online presence included a pay-to-play bestiality website. Further information presented to the court included discussions of the amount and types of images authorities have discovered on two devices attributable to Sustaita. Other images contain Sustaita’s genitalia placed on or near the identified young female victim’s head while she appears to be sleeping and others that include Sustaita attempting to expose that child’s genitalia.
Further investigation led to the discovery of the identified victim’s images on a computer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was learned that Sustaita had distributed the images via the internet.
A U.S. magistrate judge had previously ordered Sustaita into custody after finding him to be a danger to the community and a risk of flight. He has remained in custody since that time and will continue to do so pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Zack is prosecuting the case, which 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."
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of Texas