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Press Release

Former Corrections Officer Is Sentenced To 17 Years For Traveling From Tennessee To North Carolina To Engage In Sexual Activity With A Minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – John Allen Biggins, 42, of Surgoinsville, Tennessee, was sentenced today to 17 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for traveling to Western North Carolina to engage in illicit sex acts with a minor, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger also ordered Biggins to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison.

Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina and South Carolina, and Jeff Cassidy, Sheriff of the Sullivan County Sheriff's office in Tennessee, join U.S. Attorney King in making today's announcement. 

"As a sworn officer of the law, Biggins compromised public trust and violated federal statutes," said U.S. Attorney King. "Protecting our children from harm is one of our highest priorities, and identifying and prosecuting predators like Biggins is at the forefront of our efforts to combat child sexual exploitation. I commend Homeland Security Investigations and the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office for taking swift action. Thanks to their work and coordination, children are safe from this dangerous predator." 

“Thankfully, Biggins’ plan to exploit a child was thwarted and he will be held accountable for his heinous crime. Additionally, he also stole the public’s trust when he betrayed his oath to protect the community and enforce the law,” said Special Agent in Charge Martinez. “Finding and arresting predators involved in victimizing and exploiting children is one of HSI’s highest priorities and we are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to use all available resources to protect our communities.”

“I’m thankful for the work of Homeland Security Investigations agents who identified this predator and took immediate action,” said Sheriff Cassidy. “I hope this case sends a very clear message that no matter where you work or what title you hold, we have no tolerance for those seeking to sexually exploit and abuse children.”

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, beginning in June 2022, Biggins communicated with undercover agents expressing interest in engaging in illicit sexual acts with a minor female child. On July 8, 2022, Biggins traveled from his home in Surgoinsville to the Western District of North Carolina for the purposes of engaging in sexual acts with a female toddler and was subsequently arrested. When law enforcement arrested Biggins, he was found to be in possession of child pornography images and videos as well as a personally owned Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistol and other police equipment. At the time of the offense, Biggins was employed in a position of public trust as a corrections officer at the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office. Upon notification of the offense, Sheriff Cassidy immediately terminated Biggins from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

On February 27, 2023, Biggins pleaded guilty to traveling in interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.

U.S. Attorney King credited HSI with the investigation leading to today’s sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Solheim with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the 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 via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated November 3, 2023

Project Safe Childhood