RICHLAND -- A Pasco man who used several minors left in his care to make child pornography is going to federal prison for 20 years.
Alton V. Morehead, 36, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Richland.
He pleaded guilty Feb. 13 to one count of production of child pornography.
Senior Judge Ed Shea said after Morehead does his time, he will have to register as a sex offender and be on court supervision for 25 years.
Additional charges for receipt, distribution and possession of child pornography were dismissed Tuesday as part of the plea agreement.
"Prosecuting those who produce and distribute pornographic images of vulnerable minors is a priority of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington," U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby said in a news release. "This office dedicates significant resources to prosecuting such cases and seeks appropriate punishment."
A special agent with Homeland Security Investigations discovered a profile on a photo hosting website in May 2012 that contained multiple risqu photos of children, according to information that came out in court proceedings.
The email account associated with the profile was connected to Morehead.
Homeland Security special agents got a search warrant for the account a year later and found child porn that Morehead had received from the Internet.
Special agents then uncovered other email accounts used by Morehead to receive child porn and to distribute the porn he made of several kids.
"This is another example of what we see all too often, a trader of child pornography himself exploiting children to produce illicit images," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle.
"Every day, HSI special agents pursue individuals who prey on children for their self-gratification," Bench added in his statement. "This significant sentence (for Morehead) comes as a result of such an investigation."
The case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.