Federal Grand Jury Indicts Lieutenant from Kirtland Air Force Base on Child Pornography Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – A federal grand jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., has returned an indictment charging Jesse Furse, 34, with federal child pornography offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, Special Agent Philip J. Davis of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), and Chief Gorden E. Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).
The nine-count indictment, which was filed yesterday and publicly posted earlier today, charges Furse with eight counts of distributing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and one count of possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment charges Furse with distributing child pornography on eight occasions between Oct. 2015 and Jan. 2016, and with possessing child pornography between May 2014 and Jan. 2016. According to the indictment, Furse committed the nine crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M. At the time, Furse, a lieutenant with the U.S. Air Force, was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base.
Furse was arrested on Feb. 10, 2017, on a criminal complaint alleging child pornography charges, and remains in federal custody pending trial on the charges in the indictment. Furse is scheduled for arraignment on the indictment on March 9, 2017.
Court filings indicate that the investigation of this case was initiated in Oct. 2015, when an agent with the New Mexico Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Force, who was conducting an investigation into computers in the Albuquerque-area that were receiving, sharing, possessing and/or distributing child pornography, came upon a device using a specific IP address that allegedly was being used to share child pornography. In Jan. 2016, after investigation by APD revealed that the IP address was registered to Furse at an address located on Kirtland Air Force Base, the investigation was referred to AFOSI. On Jan. 29, 2016, AFOSI obtained a search warrant from a Military Magistrate, and AFOSI and APD executed the search warrant and seized a computer and computer-related media from Furse’s residence. The FBI joined the investigation in Feb. 2016, and obtained a federal search warrant for the computer-related evidence seized from Furse’s residence in March 2016.
According to the criminal complaint, the computer-related evidence seized from Furse’s residence was encrypted, and experts at the FBI’s New Mexico Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL) made multiple attempts to access the computer-related evidence between March 2016 and Feb. 2017. In Feb. 2017, RCFL experts were able successfully to access the computer-related evidence. The criminal complaint alleges that a preliminary review of the contents of a hard drive seized from Furse’s residence contained approximately 1400 video files consistent with child pornography.
If convicted, Furse faces a statutory mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment on the distribution charges, and a statutory maximum of 20 years of imprisonment on the possession charge. Charges in criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
The investigation of this case, which is continuing, is being handled by the Albuquerque office of the FBI, New Mexico ICAC Task Force, AFOSI, APD, and RCFL. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Mease 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, 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.