Anthony V. Mangione, the former chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in South Florida, plans to plead guilty rather than go to trial next month on Internet child-pornography charges, according to a federal court filing.
Mangione, 51, of Parkland, had pleaded not guilty to three counts of possessing, receiving and transporting child pornography on his home computer after his arrest last September. If convicted of all three charges, he faced up to 50 years in prison.
It is customary for federal defendants who plead guilty to receive lower sentences after they accept responsibility and forego trial. Still, each of the charges accusing Mangione of transporting and receiving images of minors “engaging in sexually explicit conduct” carries a minimum-mandatory sentence of five years.
Mangione’s attorney, David Howard, declined to comment regarding his client’s planned July 20 change of plea hearing in federal court in West Palm Beach. The recent court filing did not specify which of the three counts Mangione would plead guilty to, records show.
The home AOL Internet account registered to Mangione, who served as an agent with ICE for 27 years, was repeatedly used to transfer images of nude children, according to two search warrants issued by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which worked on the investigation with the FBI.
During the past decade, ICE aggressively targeted child pornography, with Mangione frequently speaking out against “predators” who illegally share images through their computers. ICE also investigates migrant smuggling, illegal weapons exports, terrorism and drug trafficking.
As the special agent in charge of ICE’s South Florida office between 2007 and 2011, Mangione often praised the agency’s efforts against child pornography in both the cyber and real worlds.
The Justice Department’s indictment charged Mangione with Internet child-porn offenses between March and September of 2010.
After his arrest, a federal magistrate judge allowed Mangione, who is married, to be released on bail with tight restrictions on his computer use, Internet activity and contact with children.
U.S. Magistrate James Hopkins agreed to release him on a $75,000 bond, after a prosecutor expressed concern that Mangione might harm himself if freed on bail and a psychologist evaluated him.
Mangione retired from ICE after being put on administrative leave following the searches of his home and ICE office in western Miami-Dade in April 2011. The search revealed that Mangione and his family had a dozen computers and 16 cell phones at their Parkland residence, according to one of the warrants.