DALLAS – A north Texas man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to a superseding information charging one count of transporting child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.
According to the terms of the plea agreement, if the Court accepts the plea, the parties agree that the appropriate term of imprisonment is 30 years in federal prison.
Billy Wayne Johnson, 55, of Scurry, Texas, who has been in custody since his arrest in February on a related federal criminal complaint, also faces up to a $500,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. Sentencing is set for Aug. 2 before Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater.
This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, the investigation began in December 2012 when a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was conducting an undercover investigation to identify persons who were distributing child pornography using peer-to-peer file-sharing over the Internet. This investigation revealed an Internet Protocol (IP) address that was connected to Johnson.
During this guilty plea, Johnson admitted that he obtained images of child pornography from other peer-to-peer users/members in his private network of contacts, and that he downloaded, viewed and shared images of child pornography. A forensic evaluation of Johnson's laptop and thumb drive that were seized revealed more than 1600 still images and 194 videos of child pornography. Also located on his laptop were lewd and lascivious photographs, as well as a video, that he admitted taking of boys under 6 years old. He further admitted that some of the images and videos he possessed depicted sadistic images of prepubescent minors. He also admitted that he engaged in several chats with other members of his peer-to-peer network in which he and the others discussed their interest in molesting and sexually assaulting children under 6 years old.
HSI is in charge of this investigation; Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks is in charge of the prosecution.
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.