Former Albuquerque Police Department Officer Arrested on Federal Child Pornography Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Nelson Begay, 32, of Albuquerque, N.M., was arrested this afternoon on a criminal complaint charging him with receiving and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Shortly before his arrest, Begay resigned from his position as an officer of the Albuquerque Police Department. Begay is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court tomorrow morning.
The arrest was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Ulrich, II, of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and New Mexico Attorney General Gary K. King.
According to the criminal complaint, in Sept. 2013, a special agent with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office (NMAGO) identified an IP address that was being used share files containing child pornography while conducting an investigation targeting those who share child pornography on peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Subsequent investigation revealed that the IP address was subscribed to Begay at a residential address in northeast Albuquerque.
The criminal complaint states that on Nov. 7, 2013, HSI and other agencies participating in the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force executed a federal search warrant at Begay’s residence and seized computers and computer-related media. A preliminary forensic examination of a laptop computer taken from a bedroom allegedly used by Begay recovered more than 30 images consistent with child pornography.
If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Begay faces a federal prison term of not less than five years and not more than 20 years. If convicted, Begay also would be required to register as a sex offender. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
HSI Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Ulrich, II, expressed his appreciation to Chief Allen Banks of the Albuquerque Police Department for the Department’s cooperation in the investigation of this case.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI and the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob A. Wishard 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 NMAGO. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.