Denver Man Indicted And Arrested For Production, Distribution And Possession Of Child Pornography
DENVER – Minh Thong, age 30, of Denver, Colorado, appeared in court today on charges of production, distribution and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney John Walsh and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Kumar Kibble announced. Thong was originally arrested at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as he attempted to travel to Hong Kong. The defendant appeared in federal court in Los Angeles (the Central District of California). A U.S. Magistrate Judge there ordered U.S. Marshals to transport Thong to Denver. Thong made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Denver this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer, where he was advised of his rights and the charges pending against him. Thong is scheduled to next appear before Magistrate Judge Shaffer on Thursday, February 13th, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. for a detention hearing and for arraignment.
Thong was first charged by Criminal Complaint on January 20, 2014. He was then indicted by a federal grand jury on January 27, 2014.
According to court documents, including the affidavit in support of the original Criminal Complaint, on July 10, 2013, a HSI special agent in Seattle, while functioning in an undercover capacity, used the internet to connect to a Peer to Peer file sharing program (a/k/a FSP). The special agent was able to download child pornography from a specific person using a specific username at a unique IP address. The agent was not only able to download child pornography, the agent was also able to view thumbnail images before choosing which images or videos to download.
Further investigation revealed that the IP address resolved at an address in Denver, and was registered to Minh Thong. A federal search warrant for Thong’s residence was then obtained and executed. Special Agents and officers found child pornography on Thong’s computer. Thong obtained child pornography from others using Peer to Peer software. He also produced child pornography by accessing video chat websites where individuals can see each other using a web cam. Thong used a program to play a video of a younger female or younger male so that the minor person on the other end of the web cam chat believed they were chatting with someone other than Thong. During those chats Thong was able to convince users on the other end of the chats to disrobe and/or masturbate. He recorded the video chat and saved the files. Special Agents are in the process of identifying minor victims.
“Our HSI special agents are dedicated to investigating predators who misrepresent themselves on the Internet to sexually exploit our children,” said Kumar C. Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. “These predators who produce child pornography electronically memorialize their horrific acts against children, and share these images with like-minded depraved individuals. To protect children from being sexually exploited, HSI is a federal law enforcement leader in investigating these crimes against children domestically and internationally.”
Thong is charged with one count of production of child pornography, which carries a penalty of not less than 15, and not more than 30 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine. He faces one count of distribution of child pornography, which carries a penalty of not less than 5 years, and not more than 20 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine. Thong also faces one count of possession of child pornography, which carries a penalty of not more than 10 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine.
This case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Anyone who may have been deceived by Thong is asked to contact the HSI Tipline toll-free at 1 (800) 347-2423, or submit a tip on the Internet at: www.ice.gov/tips.
Thong is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts Wolak.
The charges contained in the government filings are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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, PSC 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 PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab "resources."