PLANO, Texas — A North Texas man was sentenced Friday to 50 years in federal prison for producing and distributing child pornography.

This sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston Eastern District of Texas. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Flower Mound (Texas) Police Department.

Joel Linden, 29, from Denton, Texas, pleaded guilty to producing and distributing child pornography on Apr. 20, 2017. He was sentenced to a total of 600 months in federal prison on Aug. 18, 2017, by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.

According to information presented in court, on Nov. 6, 2016, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Linden’s residence after receiving information that someone from the residence was sending child pornography using an internet application. During the execution of the search warrant, HSI special agents seized a number of items of digital media, many of which were found to contain child pornography.  Some of the images and videos of child pornography were produced by Linden and depicted the sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 years old. The investigation also revealed Linden had distributed the images and videos to individuals with whom he was communicating online.

“This is another horrendous case of child exploitation,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “We will leave no stone unturned to find those who commit these terrible crimes…as a warning to others, we will find and punish you. My heart breaks for the victims and my appreciation goes out to those men and women who relentlessly investigate and prosecute these cases.”

Linden was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison for producing child pornography and 240 months in federal prison for distributing child pornography. These sentences were ordered to be served consecutively for a total of 600 months in federal prison.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Miller, Eastern District of Texas.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.