Phoenix, Arizona - A retired Mesa police sergeant was sentenced earlier this month to 323 years in prison following his conviction on child exploitation charges stemming from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Mesa Police Department.
Russell Dean Millsaps, 69, was sentenced July 1 by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Mikitish on multiple counts of child molestation, crimes against children, and sexual exploitation of a minor. The case against Millsaps was prosecuted by Rebecca Jones of the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County.
The probe targeting Millsaps began in 2013 after HSI special agents in New Orleans alerted local investigators about a Mesa man who responded to an internet advertisement soliciting images of children being sexually exploited. Further investigation resulted in the execution of a search warrant at Millsaps’ Mesa residence, where authorities seized hundreds of images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children that he was sending over the internet.
On March 14, 2013, Millsaps was arrested and held without bond. Over the course of the investigation, authorities identified multiple minor victims.
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.