CONCORD, N.H. – A New Hampshire man pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of production of child pornography in a case led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), along with the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and law enforcement authorities in Canada.

Matthew Felton, 38, of Somersworth, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of production of child pornography. The case is being prosecuted by the Office of Acting United States Attorney for the District of New Hanpshire John J. Farley.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the defendant used several social media accounts to disguise his identity, pose as a female representative of a modeling agency, and solicit sexually explicit photographs of young girls purportedly to help them secure modeling contracts. Specifically, he persuaded three girls (ages 12 through 14), all of whom were located in Canada, to photograph themselves engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The girls sent the photographs to the defendant over the Internet. Felton is scheduled to be sentenced on April 26, 2018.

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 14,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 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.