Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Two Chicago-area men have been arrested on separate, unrelated federal charges alleging that they manufactured child pornography, federal law enforcement officials announced on September 12.
In one case, John Gabriel, 77, of Joliet, was arrested early September 12 at his home without incident by FBI agents. Gabriel was charged with one count of manufacturing child pornography and one count of obstruction of justice in a two-count federal grand jury indictment that was returned yesterday and unsealed upon his arrest. Gabriel pleaded not guilty September 12 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown in federal court in Chicago, and he remains in custody pending a detention hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Monday.
In the second case, Mark Barreto, 35, of Elmwood Park and formerly of Chicago, was arrested yesterday at his home without incident by U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents. Barreto was charged with two counts of manufacturing child pornography, three counts of transporting child pornography, and one count of possessing child pornography in a six-count federal grand jury indictment that was returned on Tuesday. Barreto pleaded not guilty September 12 before U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras, and he remain in custody pending a detention hearing next week.
Manufacturing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced the Gabriel case with Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Barreto case with Tony Gómez, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.
In the Gabriel case, the indictment alleges that he manufactured child pornography with a minor female in July 2012 in Will County. The obstruction count alleges that Gabriel destroyed computer files when FBI agents executed a search warrant his residence on August 14, 2012.
The Gabriel investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. The task force is part of a nationwide effort known as the Innocence Lost National Initiative targeting those involved in the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the United States. In Chicago, the CETF is composed of FBI special agents and representatives from the Chicago Police Department, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
In the Barreto case, the indictment alleges that he manufactured child pornography with two different minor females, one from February through July 2012 and the other in June and July 2012. It further alleges that he transported images depicting child pornography on dates in April and July 2012 and that he possessed child pornography on his computer when postal inspectors executed a search warrant at his residence in Chicago last October.
The Barreto investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, together with the Bolingbrook and Naperville Police Departments and the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.
In addition to the penalties for manufacturing child pornography, if convicted, Gabriel also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for obstruction of justice. Barreto, if convicted, also faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count of transporting child pornography, and possessing child pornography carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. Both defendants also face a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.