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Extradited Bloomington Fugitive Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Producing Sexually Explicit Images and Videos of Minors

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Bloomington man has been sentenced to 480 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for attempted production and production of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, and enticement of a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, between October 2020 through March 2023, Ibrahim Ghassan Sleyman, 31, used Snapchat and other messaging apps to solicit sexually explicit material and sex acts from minor girls and boys, some as young as nine years old. Additionally, Sleyman groomed and enticed a minor victim to produce child pornography and engage in sexual activity with Sleyman by providing the minor with drugs and gifts. Once Sleyman became aware of law enforcement's investigation, he fled to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), on September 6, 2022. While Sleyman was a fugitive in the UAE, he continued to use Snapchat to engage in sexually explicit conversations with minors in the United States, and he attempted to obstruct justice by contacting minor victims to influence their actions in the ongoing investigation.

On September 15, 2023-one year after Sleyman fled to the UAE-Sleyman was extradited by the UAE and upon his return to the United States, he was taken into federal custody by the FBI. To date, the United States has identified at least 22 minor victims who Sleyman solicited and used to produce and receive child pornography and attempted to entice to engage in unlawful sexual acts.

On December 14, 2023, Sleyman pleaded guilty to one count of attempted production and production of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography, and one count of enticement of a minor. As a part of his plea, Sleyman admitted to criminal conduct relating to 22 minor victims. He was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Judge Donovan W. Frank, who remarked that he has presided over "hundreds of child pornography cases," and that Sleyman's case was "distinguishable" from many of those prior cases, in part, due to the severity of the offenses and hands-on sexual abuse.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney's Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

http://www.justice.gov/psc.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Elk River Police Department, and the Pleasant Hill, Missouri Police Department, with assistance from the St. Paul Police Department. The Justice Department's Office of International Affairs, the State Department, the Ministries of Justice and Interior of the United Arab Emirates, UAE Interpol, Abu Dhabi Airport Police and Abu Dhabi International Airport – Airport Security provided significant support and assistance in Sleyman's extradition from the United Arab Emirates.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary A. Taylor prosecuted the case.

 

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