Niagara Falls, N.Y.- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations announced the arrest of a U.S. citizen found in possession of child pornography.
On July 8, CBP officers working in the port of Buffalo, N.Y. encountered James Hammer, a 67-year-old U.S. citizen from Onalaska, Wisc., as he applied for admission into the country at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Hammer advised the primary CBP officer that he is a professional photographer and was traversing through Canada en route to Palmira, N.Y. He claimed that he stopped in Niagara Falls, Ontario to capture photos of the falls. A primary name query revealed that Hammer is a registered sex offender. He was referred to CBP secondary enforcement exam.
Additional record checks by CBP revealed that Hammer was convicted in 2002 for aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a family member. During the course of the CBP secondary interview, Hammer claimed ownership of all items in his vehicle.
A search of Hammer's personal effects revealed a laptop computer and numerous electronic media storage devices. A review of a thumb drive revealed numerous images depicting suspected child pornography. The images on the thumb drive appeared to be those of pre-teen children.
CBP then contacted agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Buffalo Cyber Crimes Unit, who responded to the border crossing. ICE agents viewed the thumb drive in question and determined that the images did appear to be that of child pornography.
ICE agents also discovered similar images on Hammer's laptop. Hammer later claimed that the thumb drive did not belong to him and that he had found it in a parking lot somewhere between Windsor, Ontario and the Rainbow Bridge.
The electronic media was seized by CBP and turned over to ICE as evidence. Hammer was arrested on federal charges of possession and transportation of material constituting or containing child pornography and turned over to ICE for further investigation and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York. Hammer is being held at the Erie County Holding Center.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.