LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A Las Cruces man pleaded guilty Monday to child pornography charges requiring at least a 15-year sentence in federal prison.
Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case with the assistance of the Las Cruces Police Department.
In addition to whatever prison sentence is imposed, John Bevel, 42, will also be on supervised release for a term to be determined by the court. He must also to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence. Under his plea agreement, he will be sentenced to at least 15 years and less than 45 years in federal prison.
HSI special agents and Las Cruces police officers arrested Bevel in October 2017 on a criminal complaint alleging child pornography possession offenses in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. According to the complaint, HSI and Las Cruces police initiated an investigation into Bevel in early October 2017 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip that Bevel’s online account allegedly had files containing child pornography. The complaint also alleged that Bevel’s smartphone contained hundreds of images of child pornography.
During the Feb. 26 proceedings, Bevel pleaded guilty to a four-count felony information charging him with the following crimes: advertising visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography.
By entering his guilty plea, Bevel admitted that on Oct. 17 and 18, he advertised and received visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. He did so by communicating with another person on his smartphone via a messenger application on which child pornography images and videos are traded. Bevel also admitted possessing child pornography on Sept. 24, 2017, by maintaining an online account to store child pornography images and videos that he could access with his smartphone and laptop computer. In addition, he admitted distributing child pornography on Sept. 25, 2017, by sending numerous child pornography videos to another individual by using a messenger application on his smartphone.
Bevel remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.