AZTEC — A man twice convicted of possessing child pornography in the last five years was given probation for the second time on Friday.

District Judge John Dean sentenced Mikle Hannon to 18 months in prison for each of the four counts of possession of child pornography he pleaded guilty to last year. Dean suspended the sentence in favor of probation.

Hannon, a 30-year-old Farmington man who works for Aztec Well Servicing, will be on probation for at least five years and up to 20 years, Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said.

Dean told Hannon that if he violates his probation, "the consequences will be unpleasant."

"I know I have a problem and I'll do (counseling) for the rest of my life," Hannon said during his sentencing hearing. "I will do counseling and make sure this doesn't happen again."

Hannon was arrested in May and charged with eight counts of possession of child pornography and eight counts of tampering with evidence. He pleaded guilty to four counts of possession of child pornography in November as part of a plea agreement.

Farmington police's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force launched an investigation into Hannon when his girlfriend told the district attorney's office she saw him watching child porn, according to court documents.

The task force obtained search warrants for Hannon's computer. Police said he downloaded eight, 30-minute videos from a file-sharing application showing girls and one boy having sex with adult men. The videos had been viewed and deleted but detectives accessed the files from his hard drive. The children in the movies ranged in age from 4 to 14 years old, according to court documents.

Hannon's first conviction came after he was arrested in December 2007 and charged with 22 counts of possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty to eight of the charges and the other 14 were dismissed, according to a state court website.

Former District Judge Thomas Hynes sentenced Hannon to three years of probation, which ended in February 2011.

"My client does well on probation," said Arlon Stoker, Hanoon's attorney for both of his pornography cases. "He knows he has an emotional problem. He has a compulsion that sometimes gets hold of him."

Police and prosecutors said they thought Hanoon deserved prison time. Even though the videos could have been made far away from San Juan County, there are still child victims, they said.

"It always bothers me that defendants and their attorneys never acknowledge that there are victims in these cases," Capshaw said. The victims "are being exposed for the rest of their lives in the worst way possible."

Farmington police Cpl. Russ Bradford said there are three Farmington police detectives assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

The task force has collared criminals for possessing child pornography and for luring children after meeting them on the Internet, he said.

Studies have shown people who watch the videos are more likely to physically abuse children, so investigators try to catch them before they advance to that stage, he said. Bradford also said the crime is not victimless.

"There may not be a victim in San Juan County," he said, "but there is a victim somewhere."

Bradford said building a case against a person in possession of child pornography can take months. Obtaining several search warrants to track someone's online activity and then doing a forensic search of their computer can be time consuming, he said.

"I don't know what type of treatment Mr. Hanoon and the others are required to complete as part of their probation, but to me prison is a pretty powerful deterrent," Bradford said.