71.8 F
Ocala
Friday, September 10, 2021

Citrus Springs man pleads guilty to producing, possessing over 17,000 child sex abuse images

A 31-year-old Citrus Springs man has pled guilty to using a minor to produce child sex abuse images and will face at least 15 years in prison.

Dustin Shane Sandiford pled guilty to using a minor to produce child sex abuse images in federal court this week. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, and up to 30 years, in federal prison.

Sandiford, who was indicted on June 30, will face a sentencing hearing on January 21, 2022.

According to the plea agreement, agents seized a cellphone from Sandiford on December 2, 2020, pursuant to a search warrant. The phone contained a cloud storage application tied to accounts that Sandiford used to hoard more than 17,000 images and videos depicting children being sexually abused.

Further investigation revealed that Sandiford had enlisted another Citrus County resident to produce child sexual abuse images of an underaged relative and send them to Sandiford. This material was also found on one of Sandiford’s cloud storage accounts.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William S. Hamilton. This is another case 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.