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Man with child porn tries to flee to Middle East; sentenced to 120 years in prison


This news story was published on July 31, 2017.
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SEDONA, AZ – A local jewelry store owner was sentenced on Thursday to 1,440 months without the possibility of early release in state prison for possessing and distributing child pornography, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO).

Samir Wadi, age 44 of Sedona, was sentenced July 19, by an Arizona Superior Court Judge following a bench trial who handed a guilty verdict of 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor under the age of 15, making each charged count a class two felony.

“Given his age, this prison term assures the defendant will not be a sexual threat in our community,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “This sentence should also serve as a sobering reminder to child predators who wrongly believe they can outrun the law and indulge their perverse desires by trying to flee the US. HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to hold these dangerous sexual predators accountable for their actions.”

The investigation leading to the guilty verdict was initiated in October 2014 when HSI special agents and YCSO detectives executed a search warrant related to the possession and distribution of child pornography on Wadi’s home. Wadi admitted to the illicit internet activity and a forensic computer examination uncovered numerous videos containing child pornography involving prepubescent girls. Wadi was subsequently arrested; however, after posting bond he attempted to flee the U.S. to Amman, Jordan. HSI special agents consequently secured a federal arrest warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and Wadi was taken into custody at the Albuquerque airport prior to his departure.

Wadi was indicted Oct. 17, 2014, on all 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. In May 2017, an HSI special agent and a YCSO detective provided testimony, which led to the guilty verdict.

HSI Flagstaff received significant assistance with the case from the HSI office in Albuquerque.

Samir Wadi

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