Former Albuquerque Police Department Officer Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – Nelson Begay, 32, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty today to a receipt of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct charge. The guilty plea 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.
Begay was arrested on Nov. 13, 2013, 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.
On Dec. 4, 2013, Begay was indicted and charged with two counts of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. The indictment alleged that Begay received child pornography in Nov. 2012 and April 2013, and that he possessed child pornography in Nov. 2013, in Bernalillo County, N.M.
According to court filings, 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.
Court records reflect 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 forensic examination of a laptop computer taken from a bedroom used by Begay recovered images consistent with child pornography.
During today’s hearing, Begay entered a guilty plea to count 1 of the indictment charging him with receipt of child pornography. In his plea agreement, Begay admitted that on Nov. 1, 2012, he used file-sharing software to download and share child pornography, including a video that was almost 30 minutes in duration that was a compilation of many video clips of minors performing various sexual acts.
Begay has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. Begay faces a maximum federal prison sentence of not less than five years and not more than 20 years. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Begay will be required to pay $1000 in restitution to one of the victims whose image appears in the aforementioned video. Begay also will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI, the NMAGO, and other members of the New Mexico ICAC Task Force, 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 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 74 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.