Matthew Sheffield, 41, of Merced, was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on Wednesday for sexual exploitation of minors, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert.
Sheffield was also ordered to pay $100,200 in special assessments and $25,000 in restitution to each of two victims. If he is ever released, Sheffield will face a lifetime of supervision, according to a news release from Talbert's office.
Law enforcement agents first encountered sexually explicit material connected to Sheffield in February 2018, according to court documents. Through investigative work and assistance from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, agents ultimately identified Sheffield as the person responsible for creating and distributing the material online.
While serving a search warrant at Sheffield's home, agents recognized unique objects that were depicted in the images he created.
Sheffield was indicted on Aug. 29, 2019 and he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of children on March 21.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Fresno and the FBI Child Exploitation Operational Unit in Linthicum, Maryland assisted with the investigation of the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa and Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section Trial Attorney Nadia Prinz prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.