Gary Samuel Cochran, a registered sex offender who was among 55 men nabbed after a multi-agency probe into child pornography exchanged via peer-to-peer networks like Limewire, was sentenced Monday to 26 years in federal prison. The 53-year-old had agreed in September to a plea deal after federal agents revealed a search of Cochran's Huntington Beach home turned up video he produced of an 8-year-old girl having sex.
The plea deal U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson in Los Angeles signed off on has Cochran getting out of the federal pen nine years earlier than maximum and one year later than minimum sentencing guidelines allow.
Convicted of child molestation in Orange County in 1991, Cochran was among seven men arrested one morning in August 2008 to cap the investigation led by the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that used sophisticated programs to track down computers on which child pornography was being stored and made available to others via peer-to-peer networks.
Cochran pleaded guilty to a count of producing child pornography, admitting that he produced sexually explicit videos of the 8-year-old while on a trip to the beach with her family. The search of Cochran's home uncovered hundreds of child porn videos, including images of the girl engaged in sex acts.
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After completion of his prison stretch, Cochran will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.
Besides known sex offenders like Cochran, attorneys and law enforcement officers were swept up in the raids that targeted 55 men in Orange, Riverside, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Among those arrested was 48-year-old Eric David Lacey, who was living above a child day care center in Hollywood. He'd been previously featured on America's Most Wanted for a child porn case out of North Dakota.