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Press Release

East Bay Resident Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison For Selling Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendant used private group chats to sell images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of minors

OAKLAND – Tariq Lamont Johnson was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for using private social media to sell and distribute child sex abuse materials, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.  The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge.

Johnson, 24, of Richmond, Calif., pleaded guilty on June 3, 2022, to the charge.  According to the plea agreement Johnson admitted to using the social media site Telegram to sell visual depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct to another person in exchange for a $45 Amazon gift card.  Specifically, Johnson admitted that he operated numerous Instagram accounts that were linked together, and to his Telegram account, which he would use to post images; he then offered access to Telegram groups where he would provide child sexual abuse material in exchange for money.

According to the plea agreement, on November 5, 2021, Johnson was contacted by a person he later learned to be a government agent.  Johnson admitted that he agreed to sell the undercover agent access to a Telegram chatroom, as well as a link to child sexual abuse material saved on a cloud-storage site, in exchange for a $25 Amazon gift card. Further, Johnson admitted that at about the same time he sold the agent a second link to child sexual abuse material saved on a cloud-storage site in exchange for a $45 Amazon gift card.  Johnson admitted that the second link contained more than 600 depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and that these included depictions of infants and/or toddlers engaged in sexual acts.

Johnson was charged by Information on March 4, 2022, with one count of distribution of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1).  Pursuant to his plea agreement, Johnson pleaded guilty to the charge.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Tigar sentenced Johnson to a 10-year period of supervised release that will commence after the prison term is concluded.  The defendant was immediately remanded into custody.  Judge Tigar ordered that a hearing to determine restitution to Johnson’s victims will be held on April 6, 2023.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan M. Mateer is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Karina Ruiz.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations.

Updated January 13, 2023

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