Billings man admits to possessing child pornography on cellphone in undercover operation
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana
BILLINGS — A Billings man today admitted to a child pornography crime after he and another individual were arrested in an undercover investigation when they arrived at a park to meet a fictitious teenage boy, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Jeffrey Mayes Wilkerson, 39, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. Wilkerson faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years to a lifetime of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. If the court accepts the plea agreement reached in the case, Wilkerson will serve no less than 51 months of imprisonment. The court set sentencing for Sept. 14. Wilkerson was released pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that on July 14, 2022, law enforcement conducted an undercover investigation in Billings in which investigators assumed the identity of a 13-year-old boy on a social media site. The undercover profile was contacted the same day by co-defendant, Kyle Ray Schwindt. Communications between the undercover and Schwindt were later connected to Wilkerson. The communications led to setting up a meeting in a park on July 15, 2022. Law enforcement arrested Schwindt and Wilkerson when they arrived at the park. Investigators served a search warrant on Wilkerson’s cellphone and found multiple videos of child pornography and a text exchange with Schwindt relating to the fictitious 13-year-old. The videos contained images of prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Schwindt was sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison for his conviction in the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus and Bryan T. Dake are prosecuting the case. The FBI and Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.
This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative, which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer
Updated May 17, 2023
Project Safe Childhood