KASNSAS CITY, Kan. – A Kansas long-haul truck driver was indicted in federal court Wednesday for transporting child pornography across state lines.
This indictment resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, and the Dallas (Texas) Police Department, with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Joshua David Bellah, 40, Wichita, Kan., is charged with one count of interstate transportation of child pornography. This crime is alleged to have occurred Oct. 11 when he drove from Oklahoma to Kansas with two laptop computers containing child pornography.
Bellah had previously been under federal investigation after authorities linked him to another, earlier child pornography case in another state.
HSI special agents in Wichita executed a search warrant at Bellah’s home Oct. 12 and seized three laptop computers, a smartphone, two USB drives and several computer disks. They allegedly found child pornography depicting victims who appeared to be as young as 5 years old. Bellah was arrested following the search. He was charged via federal criminal complaint Oct. 14.
If convicted, Bellah faces a penalty of five to 20 years in federal prison, and a fine up to $250,000.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.