Albuquerque Man Charged With Production And Distribution Of Child Pornography
ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Dameon Blackburn, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M., made his initial appearance in federal court earlier today on a criminal complaint charging him with production and distribution of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Ulrich, II, of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston and Albuquerque Police Chief Allen Banks.
Blackburn was arrested yesterday afternoon by HSI agents on the criminal complaint which charges Blackburn with producing and distributing child pornography in Bernalillo County, N.M., between March 2013 and Dec. 2013. Blackburn remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation that began on Nov. 15, 2013, when the HSI in Albuquerque received information from the HSI Cyber Crimes Center about a pornographic image of a young child victim who might be in the Albuquerque area. HSI’s investigative efforts identified a residence in northeast Albuquerque as a potential location for the person who may have distributed the pornographic image of the young child victim.
According to the criminal complaint, on Dec. 17, 2013, law enforcement officers conducted a welfare check at the residence and made contact with Blackburn and two young children, a girl and a boy both two years of age, who apparently were left in Blackburn’s care while their parents were out of town. The complaint alleges that the officers learned that Blackburn had been sexually molesting the two young children from March 2013 through Dec. 2013, and taking photographs and making videos of the victims while he molested them. It further alleges that Blackburn emailed the child pornography images and videos to others.
The two young victims were removed from the residence and are in protective custody.
If convicted of the offenses charged in the criminal complaint, Blackburn faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison for production of child pornography, and a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for distribution of child pornography. If convicted, Blackburn also will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and a criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and the Albuquerque Police Department, all members of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Lizarraga 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 Operation 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 64 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.