FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2013
Fort Smith, Arkansas - Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced today that Terry Bellah, age 55 of Fort Smith, Arkansas, was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment without the possibility for parole followed by 15 years of supervision by the U.S. Probation Office after release for transporting over 100 videos of child pornography. Chief United States District Judge P. K. Holmes III presided over the sentencing, which took place in Federal Court in Fort Smith.
United States Attorney Conner Eldridge commented, “With the internet and other computer technology that makes illicit material more readily available, our office must remain vigilant in the prosecution of crimes that involve child pornography. Those who victimize our children will be brought to justice.”
According to court documents, from January to April 2012, the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce conducted an investigation into the trade of child pornography over the internet in the Fort Smith area. During the course of this investigation, Terry Bellah was identified as a possible suspect. In April 2012, a federal search warrant was executed at Bellah’s residence. At that time, law enforcement learned that he was traveling to Atlanta, Georgia. Bellah was then located by Homeland Security in Alabama, at which time he confessed to having child pornography on the laptop computer that he was traveling with. Bellah was subsequently charged in federal court with transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography on April 10, 2012. On August 13, 2012, Bellah pleaded guilty to federal charges of transportation of child pornography. At sentencing, Federal District Court Judge Holmes was presented evidence by the Government that Bellah had over 100 different videos of child pornography located on his computer when he was arrested.
This case was investigated by the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Dustin Roberts prosecuted the case for the United States.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006, by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and their Criminal Division Child Exploitation and Obscenity Sections (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
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