Former Army lieutenant colonel from Broward sentenced for possessing child pornography

A former Army lieutenant colonel who pleaded guilty to possessing and sharing images on an instant messaging app of children younger than 12 being exploited sexually was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Edgar Ali Cerda, 49, of Cooper City, will also serve 15 years of supervised release for possession of child pornography after his 3-1/2 year prison sentence ends. Cerda offered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith in Fort Lauderdale federal court in December 2023. He was sentenced on March 5, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Southern District.

READ MORE: Florida man who was an Army lieutenant colonel when caught with child porn admits guilt

How investigators found evidence

In December 2020, detectives from the Davie Police Department were tipped by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children about a person using the instant messaging app Kik to share videos with other users of girls and boys younger than 12 — and one as young as 2, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office — being sexually abused by men, prosecutors said.

On March 10, 2021, law enforcement officers used a search warrant to examine Cerda’s electronic devices and found multiple images and videos on his Toshiba laptop. Evidence found that Cerda, who had served three tours in Iraq during the war, shared images on the app in a group chat, according to court records. Cerda was arrested at his home. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ajay Alexander prosecuted the case. Judge Smith imposed Cerda’s sentence on March 5.

Investigation team

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of FBI Miami, and BSO Sheriff Gregory Tony announced the sentence.

Among the investigators: detectives with the FBI Miami Field Office and Broward Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Fort Lauderdale Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.

Cerda was an Army logistics officer from May 1998 to June 2022.