Source: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
TAMPA – A St. Petersburg Police Department officer was arrested Thursday and charged by federal criminal complaint with distribution and possession of child pornography. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to the complaint, an individual using the screen name “thehoff727” distributed child pornography on Snapchat, a mobile web-based communications application. Further investigation revealed that the Internet Protocol (IP) address and subscriber information associated with that account was linked to the residence of Matthew Enhoffer, 34, of St. Petersburg, a police officer with the St. Petersburg Police Department.
On Sept. 11, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at Enhoffer’s home and seized several electronic devices. An examination of Enhoffer’s cellphone revealed a collection of child-pornographic images and videos, including multiple images and videos involving children under the age of 12 in bondage, being raped, and forced to perform sex acts.
The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Middle District Florida Assistant United States Attorney Lisa M. Thelwell. A copy of the criminal complaint is available at justice.gov.
If convicted, Enhoffer faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 5 years, and up to 20 years, in federal prison.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
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 19,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2018, more than 3,000 (3191) child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 850 (859) 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.