BALTIMORE — Two Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore investigations resulted in indictments for two men and six women being for their parts in two separate conspiracies to produce sexually explicit images of children.
The first HSI investigation led to the Feb. 1 indictment of John W. Balch, 75, of Jacksonville, Florida, and formerly of Frederick; Jane Ellen Campbell, 34, of Hagerstown; and Ashley Marie Tibbs, 32, of Hagerstown, with conspiracy to commit sexual exploitation of a child, sexual exploitation of a child and related charges involving five minor victims.
A second HSI Baltimore investigation led to an additional indictment, returned on March 2, charging Eugene Edward Golden, 36, of Baltimore; Edna Lenore Dineen Lopez, 32, of Baltimore; Crystal Olivia Wright, 28, of Baltimore; April Denise Dunbar, 27, of Memphis, Tennessee; and a fifth individual with conspiracy to commit sexual exploitation of a child, sexual exploitation of a child and related charges involving 10 minor victims.
“These investigations proved fruitful in that they led to charges for eight individuals who allegedly harmed children,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris. “While it is terrible that in these cases children were potentially harmed, no degree of difficulty will prevent HSI from doing everything within our power to protect the residents of Maryland.”
According to the HSI Baltimore investigations, Balch and Golden communicated with their co-defendants and others through text messages, messaging apps, social media platforms, websites and the internet. Balch and Golden offered to pay and did pay their co-defendants to produce depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, which the women co-defendants then sent to Golden and Balch.
The HSI investigations further indicated that Balch and a co-conspirator, who resided in Martinsburg, West Virginia, conspired to, and did, transport another minor victim who was younger than 15 during the time of the conspiracy, from West Virginia to Hagerstown, where Balch engaged in illegal sexual acts with that victim. Balch agreed to pay, and did pay, the co-conspirator to transport the victim from West Virginia to Maryland, and also to produce visual depictions of the minor victim engaged in sexually explicit conduct, which the co-conspirator sent to Balch using the internet.
HSI Baltimore and HSI Frederick conducted the investigations, Maryland field offices with significant contributions from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, the Maryland State Police, the Howard County Police Department, the Hagerstown Police Department, the Baltimore Police Department and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Anyone who believes they may have information about the Balch case is asked to contact HSI Frederick at HSIFrederick@hsi.dhs.gov or call the HSI tipline at 866-DHS-2423. The HSI tipline is manned 24 hours a day.
Anyone who believes they may have information about the Golden case is asked to contact the Baltimore, Maryland office of HSI at HSIBaltimore_GoldenTipline@ice.dhs.gov.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each count of conspiracy to commit sexual exploitation of a child. Each of the women defendants faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for distributing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Balch and Golden each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count of receipt of child pornography and a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count of possession of child pornography. Balch also faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for each count of coercion and enticement of a child, conspiracy to transport a minor and transportation of a minor. Golden, Lopez, Wright, and Dunbar also face maximum sentences of life in federal prison for each count of child sex trafficking.
If convicted, the defendants will also be required to register as sex offenders in the places where they reside, work or attend school under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Balch, Campbell, Tibbs, Golden, Lopez, Wright and Dunbar were arrested previously, had initial appearances, and were all ordered to be detained pending trial. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.