Raleigh Man Sentenced to 80 Months for Illegally Receiving Child Pornography
RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced MICHAEL AHMED, 33, of Raleigh to 80 months’ imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised released.
On January 29, 2019, AHMED, pursuant to a Waiver of Indictment and with a written Plea Agreement, pled guilty to a Criminal Information which charged AHMED with Receipt of Child Pornography that concluded on March 14, 2018.
On December 3, 2017, officers with the Cary Police Department (CPD) in Cary, North Carolina, were conducting an online investigation on the BitTorrent1 network searching for individuals sharing child pornography (CP). Officers identified an IP address sharing CP, and they successfully downloaded 83 files of suspected CP. Officers continued to connect to the IP address on multiple occasions through February 18, 2018, and successfully downloaded several files of known CP. Officers were able to determine that the IP address was assigned to a residence in Apex, North Carolina, owned by the parents of AHMED. The Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was contacted and HSI agents obtained a search warrant for the residence.
On March 14, 2018, HSI agents and members of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) in Raleigh, North Carolina, executed a search warrant of AHMED’s Apex residence. During the search, agents seized a Dell desktop computer, an LG cellphone, multiple hard drives, and micro SD cards. AHMED was present and agreed to speak with law enforcement. During the interview, AHMED admitted to downloading CP using BitTorrent. AHMED stated he was aware BitTorrent was a file sharing program; however, he never intentionally shared CP. AHMED stated he preferred girls ages 14 and older and admitted to using the search terms “young and teen” when searching for CP online. AHMED stated he would download CP, save it to a file on his computer, and then delete it from his computer by placing it in the recycling bin.
An HSI forensics agent analyzed AHMED’s hard drives and found 2,463 image files and 93 video files which depicted CP. Multiple files contained sadistic or masochistic conduct, bestiality, prepubescent minors, and infants/toddlers. Multiple videos in the defendant’s collection were more than 5 minutes long. The recovered images were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for identification. NCMEC identified 101 known series in AHMED’s collection. AHMED’s collection contained a total of 9,438 image files of CP.
Based on the investigation, AHMED used BitTorrent, a peer to peer file sharing program, on his computer to receive CP. As such, by using BitTorrent he is also responsible for distributing CP. Additionally, AHMED’s collection of CP contained images and videos which depicted sadistic/masochistic conduct, bestiality, prepubescent minors, and infants/toddlers. AHMED is accountable for the possession of 9,438 image files of CP.
This case was part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level. For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cary Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel W. Smith prosecuted the case for the government.