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Press Release

Massachusetts Man Charged with Travelling in Interstate Commerce to Transport Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI – A federal criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Providence today charging Fetahe Makonnen, 34, of Malden, Mass., with travelling in interstate commerce for the purpose of transporting child pornography, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations for New England.

 It is alleged that Makonnen travelled from Massachusetts to Rhode Island on October 28, 2017, for the purpose of transporting digital storage devices containing hundreds of videos and images of child pornography.


According to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed with the Court, it is alleged that in July 2017, Makonnen began communicating online with a member of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The conversation turned to a discussion about the sharing of child pornography. Makonnen did not communicate again with the ICAC Detective until September 16, 2017.


According to the affidavit, it is alleged that beginning on September 16, 2017, Makonnen began again to communicate with members of the ICAC Task Force through various methods, including by telephone, with discussions centered around his interests in the viewing of child pornography involving prepubescent minors between 1 year and 13 years of age. On October 27, 2017, Makonnen agreed to travel to Rhode Island the next day, expecting to meet with the person he had been communicating with and to view child pornography. He agreed to bring images and videos of child pornography with him. When they met the next day, it is alleged that Makonnen provided an undercover ICAC Task Force Detective with two thumb drives which the detective opened on his laptop computer. It is alleged both thumb drives contained images and videos depicting child pornography involving prepubescent children.


Makonnen was arrested on a Rhode Island state charge and ordered held on $10,000 surety bail. 


A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


The case in federal court is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dulce Donovan.




Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
on Twitter @USAO_RI

Updated November 9, 2017

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 17-135