WASHINGTON -- A federal grand jury in Pensacola, Fla. has returned a 35-count indictment against 12 individuals who engaged in a criminal enterprise involving the advertisement, transportation and shipment of child pornography over a two-year period, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Gregory R. Miller, and FBI Executive Assistant Director J. Stephen Tidwell announced today.
According to the indictment, the 12 men participated since August 2006 in a highly-sophisticated and well-organized scheme to proliferate child sex abuse images to the organization¡¯s membership. Until the group was dismantled by law enforcement, members of the group utilized Internet newsgroups - or large file-sharing networks where text, software, pictures and videos can be traded and shared - to traffic in illegal images and videos depicting prepubescent children, including toddlers, engaged in various sexual and sadistic acts. The group utilized sophisticated encryption methods to avoid detection and traded over 400,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse before being dismantled. The charges were developed after law enforcement infiltrated the group.
The indictment charges the 12 defendants with numerous federal crimes, including engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, conspiracy, advertisement of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, and obstruction of justice. Charged in the indictment are:
-Michael Berger, 33, of Mechanicsville,Va.;
-James Freeman, 47, of Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.;
-Ruble Keys, 55, of Medford, Ore.;
-Gary Lakey, 54, of Anderson, Ind.;
-Marvin Lambert, 33, of Indianapolis, Ind.;
-Neville McGarity, 40, of Medina, Texas;
-John Mosman, 46, of Waterbury, Conn.;
-Warren Mumpower, 63, of Spokane, Wash.;
-Raymond Roy, 54, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.;
-Erik Wayerski, 46, of Round Rock, Texas;
-Warren Weber, 56, of Boise, Idaho; and
-Ronald White, 59, of Burlington, N.C.
If convicted of these offenses, each defendant faces a prison sentence of at least 20 years, up to a maximum of life imprisonment, in addition to applicable statutory fines.
Two additional defendants associated with this case were arrested on criminal complaints on February 29, 2008. They are Stepan Bondarenko, 38, of Philadelphia, Pa. and Daniel Castleman, 43, of Lubbock, Texas.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney¡¯s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg of the Northern District of Florida and Trial Attorney LisaMarie Freitas of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice¡¯s Criminal Division. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Queensland, Australia Police Service, with the assistance of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) Child Pornography Unit in Germany, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the United Kingdom, and the Toronto, Canada Police Department.