Previously convicted sex offender sentenced again after accessing dark web
McALLEN, Texas – An Edinburg man has been ordered to federal prison for receipt of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
James Archie Wells III, 63, pleaded guilty Dec. 2, 2021.
Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ordered Wells to serve a 180-month sentence to be immediately followed by a lifetime of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard and considered Wells’ previous convictions in Texas state court for indecency with a child and possession of child pornography. In handing down the sentence, Judge Crane noted that Wells had just finished serving his previous sentences a few months before he began re-offending. The court assessed sentencing enhancements for the number of videos, age of the victims and the sado-masochistic nature of the videos.
The investigation began when Wells resided at halfway house in Edinburg. Authorities learned that he had been viewing child sexual abuse videos and images on his phone.
Soon after, they seized Wells’ electronic devices. At that time, Wells admitted to using the dark web to download child sexual abuse materials on his phone and other multiple devices. Wells downloaded 371 videos of child pornography which included images of the sexual assault and rape of pre-pubescent children.
Wells will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Edinburg Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mitchell prosecuted the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.