Previously Convicted Sex Offender Arraigned on Superseding Indictment Alleging Federal Child Exploitation Charges
Defendant, who Faces Enhanced Sentence of Mandatory Life Imprisonment, Being Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood & “Worst of Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Donald Alvin Tolbert, 47, of Albuquerque, N.M., was arraigned this morning in federal court on a 14-count superseding indictment alleging child pornography offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso.
Tolbert entered a plea of not guilty to the superseding indictment during his arraignment hearing. He remains in federal custody pending trial, which currently is scheduled for Sept. 19, 2016.
Tolbert was arrested on Nov. 21, 2014, on a two-count indictment charging him with receiving child pornography from June 1, 2012 through Sept. 20, 2012, and possessing a computer that contained child pornography on Sept. 20, 2012. The original indictment alleged that Tolbert committed the two crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.
The superseding indictment, which was filed on June 14, 2016, adds 12 new charges against Tolbert. Count 1 of the superseding indictment alleges that Tolbert used advertisements to offer to exchange, receive and distribute child pornography with others between Jan. 2012 and Sept. 2012, and Count 14 alleges that Tolbert committed the crime alleged in Count 1 during a time when he was required to register as a sex offender. Tolbert allegedly committed the two crimes in Bernalillo County. If convicted on Count 1, Tolbert faces a statutory mandatory sentence of life imprisonment because of his prior conviction on two counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor in the Second Judicial District Court of New Mexico in 2006. If convicted on Count 14, Tolbert faces a statutory mandatory minimum of ten years of imprisonment, which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the other charges.
The superseding indictment also includes seven counts alleging that Tolbert received child pornography between Aug. 2012 and Sept. 2012; three counts alleging that he distributed child pornography between July 2012 and Sept. 2012; and two counts alleging that he possessed computers containing child pornography in Sept. 2012. The superseding indictment alleges that Tolbert committed the crimes in Bernalillo County. If convicted on these charges, Tolbert faces the following penalties: a statutory mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 40 years on each of the seven receipt charges and the two distribution charges, and a statutory mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of 20 years on each of the two possession charges.
Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristopher N. Houghton and Alexander M. Uballez are 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, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.
The case also is being prosecuted under a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible. Because New Mexico’s violent crime rate, on a per capita basis, is one of the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo County, N.M., under this initiative.