The federal charges brought against Brannon are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston and Denver offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Brannon has been in federal custody since his arrest in August 2007.
The case was initiated in November 2004, when ICE agents in Denver received information regarding a child pornography website, www.myillegalwebsite.net. In December 2004, an undercover agent purchased a membership to the site and, ultimately, the agents executed search warrants and received payment records. One of the payment records reflected a payment from an email address belonging to Brannon, who lived in Houston.
In January 2007, Houston ICE agents traveled to Brannon's home where Brannon spoke with the agents and consented to a search of his computers. Agents found images containing child pornography on the computer.
Brannon told agents that he lived alone and that no one else has access to his computer. Brannon acknowledged that he used a screen name found by the Denver ICE agents, admitted having used the file sharing program "Emule" to download movies and pictures containing child pornography over the Internet and having purchased memberships to child pornography websites. Two computers were seized from Brannon's home.
A forensic analysis of the computers revealed well over 600 images and videos containing child pornography on both computers. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children determined that these images contained over 1,600 images of known victims in 124 known series.
The analysis also determined that movies were downloaded from the Internet using the file sharing program named "Emule." On September 9, 2006, two movies were downloaded. Both movies show an adult male engaging in sexual intercourse with a prepubescent female.
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. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices, 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.