Kiwi police instrumental in 'covert online' operation that led to conviction of Florida man for child pornography

Police say that New Zealand detectives carrying out a "covert online" operation have contributed to the sentencing of a Florida man for possessing child pornography.

File image of man typing on laptop.

A press release from police states that yesterday, 51-year-old Robert Sciolino was sentenced in Tampa, Florida, to 10 years in prison for receipt and possession of child pornography.

"The court also ordered Sciolino to pay $57,000 in restitution to the victims and forfeit six electronic devices that he had used in the commission of the offence," the statement reads.

His conviction comes after New Zealand detectives operating covertly online as part of their involvement in the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children International Taskforce (VCACITF) received multiple files depicting child pornography from Sciolino in June 2014.

Following this, US law enforcement then executed a search warrant at Sciolino’s residence and recovered two computers and two flash drives.

Police say forensic analysis of the devices revealed 354 images and 619 videos of child pornography.

Some of the images and videos depicted children as young as three being sexually abused.

Further investigations carried out by FBI agents found Sciolino was actively downloading child pornography in his car at a grocery store parking lot in Bradenton, Tampa, Florida.

This case was a joint investigation by the Brandenton Police Department, the FBI, and the New Zealand Police.