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Press Release

Texan sent to prison for involvement in distribution of child pornography via Dropbox

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

GALVESTON, Texas - A 51-year-old resident of Angleton has been ordered to federal prison following his convictions of receipt, possession and distribution of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Joe Dean Spradlin pleaded guilty March 11, 2020.

Today, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey V. Brown ordered him to serve a total of 155 months in federal prison. Following his prison term, Spradlin will serve 10 years on supervised release, during which time he will have to comply with numerous conditions that restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

In 2017, law enforcement learned of a Dropbox account that contained what was suspected to be child exploitation material. The investigation revealed some of the material in that account depicted nude, minor children exposing their genitals and engaged in sexual activity.

Authorities traced the account to an IP address registered to a residential address in Angleton. Spradlin was living there.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant and seized Spradlin’s HP laptop, which was found to contain thousands of images and thousands of videos of child pornography. Spradlin admitted to acquiring child exploitative material over Tumblr and Kik as well as storing that material on Dropbox. He even paid extra to increase the storage capacity of his account. 

Spradlin’s collection included videos of unusual length. One video was over two hours long.

Spradlin has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations -Galveston conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Pearland Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sherri Zack and Stephanie Bauman 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.

Updated January 21, 2021

Project Safe Childhood