News and Press Releases

U.S. Citizen Living and Working in Mexico Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography

July 5, 2011

HOUSTON - David Aric Ladewig, 43, has pleaded guilty today to one count of possession of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The investigation began on Sept. 9, 2010, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston conducted an inbound inspection on Continental Airlines passenger David Ladewig, arriving on an international flight from Cancun, Mexico, where he was living and working at the time. During the inspection, it was discovered that Ladewig was a match for an individual suspected of downloading and collecting child pornography. Ladewig, who was transporting a laptop computer and an external hard drive, was asked for the items in order for CBP officers to conduct an inspection and forensic exam. Ladewig was allowed to continue to Michigan where he was visiting family.

During the forensic analysis, it was determined that both the laptop computer and the external hard drive contained approximately 1,439 images of child pornography and 81 videos of child pornography that had been downloaded using the Internet.

The forensic exam of the laptop revealed that Ladewig had visited certain websites and that Limewire and Frostwire, peer-to-peer file sharing programs, were present.

Ladewig was arrested in October 2010 as he was returning to Cancun. He has been detained in federal custody since his arrest.

Ladewig faces a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 as possible punishment at his sentencing set for Oct. 3, 2011. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Ladewig also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.

This 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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

The charges against Ladewig are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston office of Homeland Security Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe.

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