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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Graham Co. Man Sentenced To More Than 6 Years In Prison For Possessing Child Pornography

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – On Thursday, February 11, 2016 U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Mark Alan Tygart, of Robbinsville, N.C. to 76 months in prison on possession of child pornography charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. 

U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, Alan K. Flora Special Agent in Charge of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) Computer Crimes Unit, and Sheriff Danny Milsaps of the Graham County Sheriff’s Office.

In October 2015, Tygart pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography.  According to court documents and statements made in court, in November 2014, an undercover officer discovered Tygart posting links to child pornography in an online chat room where Tygart went by the name “twerk.”  In December 2014, a search warrant was executed at Tygart’s residence in a joint operation with the FBI, SBI, and Graham County Sheriff’s Office detectives.  Computer forensic analysis of seized devices revealed hundreds of images and videos of child pornography. 

The defendant will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The 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 February 12, 2016