Garland Man Sentenced to Serve a Total of 30 Years in Federal Prison on Child Pornography and Firearm Charges
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
DALLAS — Brandon Gregory Leal, 36, of Garland, Texas, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey to serve a total of 360 months in federal prison following his guilty pleas in March and April 2016 to child pornography and firearms offenses as charged in two Northern District of Texas (NDTX) cases, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the NDTX.
In one case, Leal pleaded guilty to one count of attempted receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He received 240 months on that child pornography conviction and 120 months on the firearm conviction, to run consecutively.
In the subsequent case, Leal pleaded guilty to one count of transportation of child pornography and was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $58,000 in restitution. That sentence will run concurrently to the first sentence imposed.
In the first case, special agents with the FBI executed a search warrant at Leal’s residence in Garland, Texas, in July 2015, that he shared with Amber Nichole Williams, with whom he was involved in a romantic relationship. Leal was present during the search; both Leal and Williams were interviewed that day. Pursuant to the warrant, agents found and seized computers and other digital material. They also seized an AR-15 rifle and a 9mm handgun from the residence.
Leal admitted that he used the Tor chat network to obtain child pornography, admitting he had an addiction to child porn. Leal admitted that he had hundreds of images of prepubescent child pornography depicting prepubescent female children, including images of penetration, bestiality and bondage. In June 2015 he attempted to receive an image of an actual minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Leal had been convicted in 2002 for, among other things, possession of child pornography, and was sentenced to 40 months’ confinement while he served in the military.
Amber Nichole Williams, 31, was subsequently indicted in October 2015 on three counts of destruction, alteration or falsification of records and one count of making false statements. The indictment alleges that she made a false entry in Leal’s phone to make it appear that his phone was used to contact another sex offender, and she also destroyed and concealed a flash drive, knowing it contained child pornography, as well as a flip phone, that contained evidence of enticement of a minor. The indictment further alleges that she lied to FBI agents about whether she knew that Leal had any sexual relationships with minors, when in fact, Leal had told her that he had. Williams remains in custody; her trial is set for December 12, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle.
According to documents filed in the subsequent case, in December 2014, Leal drove from Canada into the U.S. through the Houlton, Main, port of entry. Border Agents became suspicious of his activity and contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for assistance. While Leal was allowed to leave the port of entry, his computer, along with its internal hard drive, an external hard drive and a thumb drive, were retained for further inspection. A forensic examination revealed that the computer contained multiple images of child pornography and the thumb drive contained at least an additional 350 images of child pornography. Leal admitted that at least one image is of an actual minor child. He further admitted that some of the images and videos he possessed depicted sadistic acts involving children, and that some of the images and videos depicted infants or toddlers.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Project Safe Childhood (PSC) initiative. PSC is a department initiative launched in May 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, tribal and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. Since FY 2011, the Department of Justice has filed 20,260 PSC cases against 19,111 defendants. These cases include prosecutions of child sex trafficking; sexual abuse of a minor or ward; child pornography offenses; obscene visual representation of the sexual abuse of children; selling or buying of children; and many more statutes. To learn more about PSC’s work, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/psc.
The FBI, ICE HSI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Garland and Mesquite Police Department investigated the cases. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lori Walker and Camille Sparks prosecuted.