Las Cruces Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Charges
Prosecution Brought Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – John Bevel, 42, of Las Cruces, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to child pornography charges that require a sentence of a mandatory minimum of 15 years of imprisonment and under a plea agreement that limits the United States to seeking a maximum sentence of 45 years of imprisonment. Bevel will be on supervised release for a term to be determined by the court and will be required to register as a sex offender after completing his prison sentence.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) arrested Bevel in Oct. 2017, on a criminal complaint alleging possession of child pornography offenses in Oct. 2017, in Dona Ana County, N.M. According to the complaint, HSI and LCPD initiated an investigation into Bevel in early Oct. 2017, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip that Bevel’s account allegedly contained files containing child pornography. The complaint also alleged that Bevel’s smartphone contained hundreds of images of child pornography.
During today’s proceedings, Bevel pled guilty to a four-count felony information charging him with: (1) advertising visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct; (2) distributing child pornography; (3) receiving child pornography; and (4) possessing child pornography. In entering the guilty plea, Bevel admitted that on Oct. 17 and 18, 2017, he advertised and received visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct by communicating with another person on a messenger application on his smartphone about trading child pornography images and videos. Bevel also admitted possessing child pornography on Sept. 24, 2017, by maintaining an online storage account to store child pornography images and videos that he could access with his smartphone and laptop computer. Bevel also admitted distributing child pornography on Sept. 25, 2017, by sending numerous child pornography videos to another individual by using a messenger application on his smartphone.
Bevel remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of HSI and the LCPD. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander B. Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office 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 information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. Individuals with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse are encouraged to contact the Children’s Advocacy Center at (575) 526-3437.
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 86 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 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.