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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Columbus Man Arraigned on Federal Child Pornography Charges

Samuel Elliott Charged with Producing and Possessing Child
Pornography Involving Three Young Children

ALBUQUERQUE – Samuel Elliott, 30, of Columbus, N.M., was arraigned in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., on Tuesday (Nov. 24, 2014) on an indictment charging him with child pornography offenses.  Elliott entered a not guilty plea to the eight-count indictment.  During a detention hearing this morning, a United States Magistrate Judge ordered Elliott detained pending trial.  

Counts 1 through 3 of the indictment allege that between Dec. 2012 and July 2014, Elliott enticed three young children to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct.  Count 1 alleges that Elliott produced child pornography depicting a child between one and five years of age; Count 2 alleges that he produced child pornography depicting a child over the age of five years; and Count 3 alleges that he produced child pornography depicting a child between one and five years of age.  Counts 4 through 8 each allege that Elliott possessed child pornography on July 24, 2013.  All eight crimes allegedly occurred in Luna County, N.M.
  
Elliott’s trial date has yet to be scheduled.  If convicted, Elliott faces a federal prison term of not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years on each production of child pornography charge.  If convicted, Elliott faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each of the possession of child pornography charges.  Elliott also would be required to register as a sex offender.  Charges in indictments are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of Homeland Security Investigations, the New Mexico State Police and the Las Cruces Police Department. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office 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 Internet Crimes Against Children (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 74 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the New Mexico ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the NMAGO.  Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.

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Updated January 26, 2015