SPOKANE – Eben Roberts, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle and William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Ryan Wade Alexander, age 34, of Richland, Washington, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty to production and distribution of child pornography. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., sentenced Alexander to a 25-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a life term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. Judge Mendoza also required Alexander to register as a sex offender upon completion of his prison sentence.
Beginning in 2017, officers and detectives with the Richland and Kennewick Police Departments joined agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to coordinate on investigations into a ring of adult men who were drugging and engaging in sexual activity with teenage boys in the Tri-Cities, as well as producing child pornography of the boys. Judge Mendoza previously sentenced Zayne Barbre, another defendant in the same group of adults, to 28 years and a lifetime of supervision.
Through an extensive electronics-based investigation, a Richland Police Department detective learned that Alexander had manipulated his way into the lives of several teenage boys in an effort to seduce and sexually violate them. The investigation revealed that Alexander started his grooming process by meeting boys on various online platforms, and then teaching them how to use and sell marijuana. Shortly thereafter, Alexander began exchanging explicit sexual texts with the boys, which led to Alexander sexually assaulting several minor boys and obtaining pornographic images of them. Alexander obtained child pornography images of one minor, and then pretended to be that minor to induce a different minor to take and send child pornography of himself to Alexander. He also threatened and tried to extort a minor when the minor’s mother confiscated marijuana that Alexander had given the minor. Alexander engaged in all of this conduct in the Tri-Cities after fleeing from Oregon, where state authorities had previously charged entirely separate child pornography conduct against him.
When a Richland Police Department detective conducted a sophisticated forensic examination of Alexander’s digital devices, he found hundreds of images of child pornography, including sexual images of children that depicted violence, sadomasochism, toddlers, and infants.
During the proceedings, Judge Mendoza described Alexander’s conduct as “egregious, manipulative, dangerous” and that of “a monster.”
United States Attorney William D. Hyslop said “The sentence imposed sends a strong message to anyone who may try to exploit children for sexual gratification. Prosecuting those who produce and distribute pornographic images of children is a priority of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington. Such crimes will be actively investigated by federal, state and local law enforcement officers. I commend the outstanding investigative efforts and close partnership demonstrated by HSI, the Richland Police Department and the Kennewick Police Department in this case.”
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The PSC Initiative has five major components:
- Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
- Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
- Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
- Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
- Community awareness and educational programs.
For more information about HSI’s child exploitation mission, please visit ice.gov/predator.
This case was investigated by HSI and the Richland and Kennewick Police Departments, along with the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is located in Richland, Washington. Victim services were provided by the Support, Advocacy, and Resource Center (SARC) in the Tri-Cities. The case was prosecuted by David M. Herzog, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.