Texarkana man gets more than eight years in prison for child porn

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A Texarkana man caught in a nationwide FBI investigation was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison Thursday.

Gary Thomas Bruce, 52, is among hundreds of defendants across the U.S. indicted in an FBI investigation called “Operation Pacifier.”

FBI investigators continued to operate a site titled “Playpen” on the “dark web” after its U.S. physical location was discovered in 2014, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in another federal district. Once under the FBI’s control, agents were able to identify a number of specific internet protocol addresses being used by individuals downloading and sharing child pornography through the site using software they believed kept their digital identities anonymous.

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Bruce’s apartment on Sowell Lane in Texarkana, Texas, was searched by investigators Sept. 11, 2015. Bruce’s computers and storage devices contained more than 600 images of child pornography, some of which depicted prepubescent children being violently sexually assaulted.

Bruce has been in jail since his arrest in June 2016. As part of his plea agreement, Bruce must forfeit all the computer equipment seized at the time of the search and the government agreed to dismiss one of the two counts listed in his May 2016 indictment. Following his release from federal prison, Bruce must register as a sex offender and will be supervised by federal probation for 10 years. If during his supervised release, Bruce commits another crime or violates the terms of his release, he could be ordered to spend more time behind bars.

Bruce was also ordered to pay a $5,000 assessment as required by the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

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