West Richland Man Extradited From Kazakhstan Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for Child Pornography Offenses
Richland, Washington – On January 6, U.S. District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. sentenced Trent Drexel Howard, 50, of West Richland, Washington, to 23 years in federal prison for attempted production of child pornography. Judge Mendoza also ordered Howard to serve an additional 20 years on federal supervision after he is released from prison. Howard pleaded guilty on September 23, 2021.
According to court documents, from 2008 through 2016, Howard attempted to produce child pornography of at least 14 different minor victims by hiding cameras in the bathrooms and bedrooms of his residence in the Eastern District of Washington. Howard captured video footage of his minor victims in nude and semi-nude states.
The investigation began when Howard distributed 168 files containing suspected child pornography images and videos to an undercover agent using a publicly accessible, Internet-based, file-sharing network. Federal agents obtained and executed a search warrant at Howard’s residence and discovered the hidden camera footage on some of the more than 100 electronic devices they seized.
Howard was working in Kazakhstan when federal agents executed the search warrant at his residence. After learning of the investigation, Howard attempted to remain in Kazakhstan and avoid facing these charges, but Kazakh authorities arrested him on September 12, 2019. A Kazakh judge ordered Howard detained pending an extradition request from the United States, which soon followed. According to the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, Howard’s removal from Kazakhstan is the first extradition to the United States from Kazakhstan.
U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref for the Eastern District of Washington praised the complex international efforts taken to investigate the case, bring the prosecution, and extradite Howard to face these charges in Richland: “Mr. Howard earned every day of his multi-decade sentence,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref. “This case makes it clear that those who exploit children in our community will be held accountable, even if they try to hide in a foreign country or avoid extradition to the United States. I cannot commend highly enough the agencies and departments that worked together to achieve justice for this serial child predator. The FBI led a collaborative investigation that required the excellent and diligent work of the U.S. State Department, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and detectives from the Kennewick, Richland, and Moses Lake Police Departments. It is simply remarkable how many moving parts were involved in bringing this investigation and prosecution to a just resolution.”
“For more than a decade, Mr. Howard victimized numerous minors and possessed tens of thousands of child exploitation materials,” said Special Agent in Charge Donald M. Voiret of the FBI Seattle Field Office. “This case demonstrates that no matter where in the world our subjects may be, the FBI will stop at nothing to hold child predators accountable.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. 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 sexually exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.
This case was investigated by the FBI Spokane Resident Office, with the Southeast Regional ICAC Task Force, and the Kennewick, Richland, and Moses Lake Police Departments. Invaluable assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of State and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. The case was prosecuted by Ann T. Wick, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.