A Highland man who tried to flee to Mexico after being convicted on federal child pornography charges was sentenced Tuesday to 17 ½ years in prison,
Michael Mazel, 38, was tracked by U.S.marshals to Casa Grande, AZ, in January after he cut off his electronic ankle monitor and fled on Jan.19, three days before his sentencing date in U.S. District Court, the Detroit Free Press reports.
When authorities caught up with him on Jan. 30, he had camping gear, two loaded guns, survival equipment, a laptop computer and hard drives that contained child pornography. He faces additional charges on those alleged crimes.
According to court documents, Mazel had downloaded more than 400 images and videos of children being forced to engage in sex acts with adults. In addition to the child pornography charges, Mazel was also convicted to trying to solicit sexual favors from teenaged girl via email.
After he pleaded guilty to th charges last September, his bond was continued and he was expected to appear in court on Jan. 22. A day before his sentencing, authorities were alerted that his ankle device had been disconnected and an arrest warrant was issued. On the same day, his father said his son had taken his car on Jan. 19 and he hadn’t seen him since.
In a statement issued after Tuesday’s sentencing, Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller of the Department of Homeland Security’s Detroit Division said the agency is aggressively combating child exploitation in all forms.
“Mazel’s capture and ultimate sentencing should send a strong message to child predators that HSI and our law enforcement partners will hunt them down and hold them accountable before the law,” Miller said.