Kenyan pleads guilty to charge in Dreamboard child sex exploitation site case
Defendant produced child pornography in addition to trading images
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a Kenyan pleaded guilty to producing child pornography for the Dreamboard child sex exploitation and child pornography site.
Brian Musomba Maweu, 51, of Kenya, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. to one count of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. He was recently extradited to the United States from Kenya. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Maweu, using the online alias “Catfish,” made 121 posts on the Dreamboard site, which he joined on January 18, 2009. Of those posts, 34 were of child pornography he produced himself. Maweu was considered a “Super VIP” level member of the Dreamboard site. Super VIP is a designation given to members who were prominent on the site and produced homemade child pornography.
Maweu faces 20 years to life in prison, not less than five years to not more than life of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date of July 14, 2015 was set.
Maweu was charged in an indictment unsealed on Aug. 3, 2011. The charges were the result of Operation Delego, an investigation launched in December 2009 that targeted individuals around the world for their participation in Dreamboard. The board was a private, members-only, online bulletin board that was created and operated to promote pedophilia and encourage the sexual abuse of very young children in an environment designed to avoid law enforcement detection.
A total of 72 individuals, including Maweu, were charged as a result of Operation Delego. To date, 57 of the 72 charged defendants have been arrested in the United States and abroad. Eight of the 57 are in the process of being extradited to the United States. Forty-eight individuals have pleaded guilty, and one was convicted after trial. The 47 individuals who have pleaded guilty or found guilty for their roles in the conspiracy have been sentenced to prison and have received sentences ranging between five years to life in prison. Three defendants have received life sentences, including the one who was convicted at trial. Fifteen of the 72 charged individuals remain at large and are known only by their online identities. Efforts to identify and apprehend these individuals continue. Operation Delego represents the largest prosecution to date in the United States of individuals who have participated in an online bulletin board conceived and operated for the sole purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography and evading law enforcement.
“There is still much work to be done before most, if not all, online operations like this one can be stopped,” Finley stated. “It took the work of agencies, both domestic and international, to find and bring this defendant to justice. We hope to make more arrests in the case and bring to justice all of the individuals who perpetrate such vile schemes that endanger children. I want to thank all the agencies and prosecutors who have worked on this case.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker and Michael O’Mara of the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Keith Becker of CEOS. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance. The investigation was conducted by ICE-Homeland Security Investigations, the Child Exploitation Section of ICE’s Cyber Crime Center, CEOS, CEOS’s High Technology Investigative Unit and 35 ICE offices in the United States and 11 ICE attaches offices in 13 countries around the world, with assistance provided by numerous local and international law enforcement agencies across the United States and throughout the world.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp. Tips may be reported anonymously.