Albuquerque Man Arraigned on Federal Child Pornography Charges
Prosecution Brought Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Albuquerque, N.M., resident Alexander Balding, 20, was arraigned this morning in federal court on a two-count indictment charging him with distribution and possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. During this morning’s proceedings, Balding entered a not guilty plea to the indictment. Balding remains in federal custody pending trial.
The federal indictment, filed on May 24, 2016, charges Balding with distributing child pornography in April 2016 and possessing child pornography for an unknown period of time that ended on April 27, 2016. The indictment alleges that Balding committed the crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.
Balding was arrested on May 4, 2016, on a criminal complaint alleging that he distributed and possessed child pornography in April 2016, in Bernalillo County. According to the criminal complaint, the investigation into Balding began on April 6, 2016, when the FBI received a report from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) identifying an IP address that was being used to share child pornography files. The criminal complaint alleges that on April 27, 2016, investigators were able to download a number of child pornography files from the computer at the IP address.
The complaint alleges that investigation revealed that the IP address was subscribed to a person residing in Balding’s home and the files containing child pornography were allegedly downloaded exclusively by Balding. On April 27, 2016, a search warrant was executed at Balding’s residence, and law enforcement officers seized a computer and external hard drive allegedly containing more than 100 files of child pornography. Balding was arrested that day on related state charges, which have since been dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.
If convicted on the distribution of child pornography charge, Balding faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. If convicted on the possession charge, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. Charges in criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the BCSO and the Albuquerque office of the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathon M. Gerson is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s 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 exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.
The case also was brought as a part of the New Mexico ICAC Task Force’s mission, which is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 82 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the New Mexico ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.