Suspended Homeland Security supervisor Steven Metz pleaded guilty Monday to possession of child pornography, admitting through an agreement that he looked at and shared images and videos, according to The Buffalo News
Metz, 41, appeared in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. The ex-Customs & Border Protection supervisor could spend up to 10 years in prison and receive a fine of $250,000.
More than 600 pornographic images and videos were found on Metz's computer, and were shared with others through emails, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. told the Buffalo News.
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"Some of the files contained sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence, and some of the children shown in the images and videos were prepubescent and under the age of 12," Hochul said.
A father of two children, Metz was charged in November 2012.
The U.S. Attorney's Office claimed he received child pornography between January and March of 2012 from an Arizona suspect. On Aug. 31, 2012, U.S. agents secured a warrant for his email account, and prosecutors said they found Metz had received and sent images. The videos show adult men performing sex acts with boys and girls ages 3-6.
"Somewhere along the line, there was a real child that was photographed or videotaped engaging in exactly the conduct which is now depicted in the video," Hochul told WIVB4.com in November
Agents searched Metz's home Oct. 25 and claim that Metz denied he was connected to the email account. Two computers were seized, and both contained child pornography, authorities said.
Metz worked for Customs and Border Protection for 16 years, and oversaw inspections at all Buffalo and western New York border crossings. He was put on administrative leave Oct. 26.
According to the criminal complaint, he said, "When this is over, please don't put me on the CBP Wall of Shame. I'm sorry for the embarrassment. I love coming to work."
Metz is now suspended without pay and can remain free with supervision until his Nov. 12 sentencing, in order to undergo psychological counseling. He told the judge that he's taking medication for anxiety and depression.
Under the plea arrangement, Metz's lawyers may ask the judge to consider a shorter sentence. Metz's counselors will also submit an assessment.
"We feel the counseling reports will weigh heavily in the presentencing report," one of Metz's lawyers, Jeremy D. Schwartz, told the News. "There are mitigating circumstances."
Metz isn't the lone Homeland Security agent arrested for crimes involving children. In March, San Jose police arrested San Francisco Bay Area Homeland Security Agent Gilbert Lam after a lengthy search that began in 2011. Lam was charged with exchanging child pornography on the Internet, and investigators discovered more than 85 images and videos on Lam's computer set-up, KGO-TV reported
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