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Press Release

Federal Inmate Admits Possessing Images Of Child Sexual Abuse While He Was In Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. – A federal inmate already serving a lengthy sentence for a child pornography conviction today admitted possessing images of child pornography while in prison, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Erik M. Smith, 36, of Iron Mountain, Michigan, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in Camden federal court to an information charging him with possession of child pornography through the use of a contraband micro SD card. Smith was already serving a 235-month sentence at Federal Correctional Institution Fort Dix (FCI Fort Dix) for his conviction in the Western District of Michigan for receipt of child pornography. Smith had a scheduled release date of March 26, 2027, prior to today’s guilty plea.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Smith possessed a 16-gigabyte micro SD card containing 263 images of child pornography, including 213 sexually explicit images of prepubescent children. He told another inmate the SD card included “mostly boy stuff,” referring to images of boys. Smith admitted that he downloaded these and other images of child pornography from a cloud account on behalf of other inmates. Smith was one of five federal inmates arrested on April 26, 2017, on the East Compound of FCI Fort Dix and charged with new counts of distributing images and videos of child sexual abuse within the prison through the use of contraband cellphones and micro SD cards, as well as selling and possessing with intent to sell such images and videos on federal property, and conspiracy to commit these offenses.

The count of possession of child pornography to which Smith pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, due to Smith’s prior conviction, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2017.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.  He also thanked officials of the Bureau of Prisons at FCI Fort Dix for their assistance with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gabriel Vidoni and Alyson M. Oswald of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Camden.

The charges and allegations in the complaints against the remaining four federal inmates –Anthony Jeffries, 32, of Orange, Virginia; Brian J. McKay, 46, of Brookhaven, Pennsylvania; Jordan T. Allen, 30, of Plain City, Ohio; and Christopher Roffler, 30, of Virginia Beach, Virginia – are merely accusations, and those defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defense counsel: Mark W. Catanzaro Esq., Mount Holly, New Jersey

Updated November 1, 2017

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 17-412