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Six people have been sentenced for their roles in an international child porn  production ring, federal authorities in Michigan announced Wednesday.

The FBI’s Detroit Field Office and Southeast Michigan Trafficking and Exploitation Crimes task force investigated the case, which was brought through Project Safe Childhood. The Department of Justice launched the initiative in 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Between 2013 and April 2017, the suspects reportedly posed as teen boys on social media platforms to lure underage girls, or "captures," to two unmonitored video chat websites, investigators allege. They worked with others "to build trust and convince the child to engage in sexually explicit conduct on (a) web camera," federal officials said in a statement. "The group members then recorded that activity and shared it with each other." 

Through the scheme, investigators said, the group recorded tens of thousands of sexually explicit videos with minors, some as young as 11 years old. The FBI has so far identified 48 victims nationwide, and the six men charged this week are accused of preying on more than 100, the FBI said.

Those defendants "are an example of a disturbing and reprehensible new trend: the ‘crowdsourcing’ of child exploitation,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy III sentenced the following:

• Terry Kovac, 49, of Las Vegas, Nevada, to 37 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. 
• Felipe Dominguez-Meija, 31, of Springdale, Arkansas,  to 41 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. 
• Noel Eisley, 38, of Wappinger Falls, New York, to 35 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. 
• Eric Robinson, 42, of Duluth, Minnesota, to 34 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. 
• Bret Massey, 47, of Portland, Maine, to 32 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. 
• William Phillips, 39, of Highland Park, New York, to 33 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, to run concurrently with another sentence.

The six also were ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to each of the identified victims, authorities said.

“These appalling crimes victimize and exploit innocent children," said FBI Detroit Division Special Agent in Charge Timothy Slater. “The arrest and prosecution of perpetrators who commit these heinous acts of violence will continue to be a high priority of the FBI’s SEMTEC task force.”

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