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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Feb. 29, 2012                   

PINEVILLE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TRANSPORTING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT IMAGES OF MINORS

BECKLEY, W.Va. – Danny Boye Cook, 37, of Pineville, West Virginia, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Irene C. Berger to transporting by his computer images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

An undercover investigation conducted by the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force revealed that on August 16, 2011, Cook began communicating via Facebook with a person whom he believed to be a twelve- year old boy located in Victoria, Texas.  Unbeknownst to Cook, the twelve-year-old boy was actually an undercover law enforcement officer working in an undercover online child exploitation operation in an attempt to catch child predators on the Internet.  A short time after Cook contacted the person he believed to be a twelve-year-old boy, Cook suggested that the two of them continue to communicate online by way of Yahoo Instant Message.  After the two of them chatted online for a period of time, Cook transported by his computer 19 images and four videos of minor boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct, that is, actual or simulated sexual intercourse and the lascivious exhibition of the genitals and pubic area of the minors.  

On August 19, 2011, the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a search of Cook’s residence in Pineville, West Virginia.  During the search, the officers located Cook’s computer and a forensic examination revealed that Cook possessed on his computer more than 600 images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.   On that same date, Cook admitted to law enforcement officers that he knew the images and videos constituted child pornography. 

Cooke faces a minimum mandatory of five years and up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release when he is sentenced on July 12, 2012. 

The case was investigated by the Victoria Texas Police Department, Victoria County Texas Sheriff’s Office, the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the West Virginia State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Wyoming County West Virginia Sheriff’s Office Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Johnston is in charge of the prosecution. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.  For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc  and click on the tab "resources."

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