Former Harris County deputy sentenced in child pornography case

- A former Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy has been sentenced to serve more than 27 years in federal prison following convictions of production and possession of child pornography, according to U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Spring-area resident Andrew Craig Sustaita, 31, pleaded guilty to the charges on March 15. He was employed with HCSO at the time of the offense, but was terminated.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake sentenced Sustaita to 240 and 87 months for the production and possession convictions, respectively. The sentences will run consecutively for a total 327-month term of imprisonment.

Th mother of the child victim presented a victim impact statement in district court. She detailed how Sustaita’s acts have victimized her daughter, other family and friends.

Sustaita will serve the remainder of his life on supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.

At the time of his plea, Sustaita admitted he posted child erotica images to a known child pornography website and had commented on other similar images on that same site. The investigation led to Sustaita, whose online presence included a pay-to-play bestiality website.

Further information presented to the court included discussions of the amount and types of images authorities have discovered on two devices attributable to Sustaita and the identified victim’s images on a computer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was learned that Sustaita had distributed the images via the internet.

A U.S. magistrate judge had previously ordered Sustaita into custody after finding him to be a danger to the community and a risk of flight. He has remained in custody since that time and will continue to do so pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Zack is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.

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