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April 12, 2022Douglas, AZ, United StatesChild Exploitation

Southern Arizona army soldier sentenced for possession of child pornography and threatening pretrial services officer following ICE HSI probe

TUCSON, Ariz. — A southern Arizona man was sentenced last week to 60 months in prison for possession of child pornography and for threatening to assault or murder a federal employee. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Douglas office, Sierra Vista Police Department, Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the U.S. Marshals Service conducted the investigations in this case.

“Child pornography, when it’s released on the internet, lives on forever to haunt the innocent children whose abuse is depicted in the images. While we cannot undo the damage of his horrible crimes, we hope that this sentence helps with the healing process for victims and families,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “HSI is committed through the investigative work with all our law enforcement partners to ending this type heinous exploitation.”

Jahara William Byfield, 23, of Sunrise, Florida, was a U.S. Army soldier stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona for training when he was arrested on Aug. 28, 2020. The case against Byfield revealed he had used his cellphones to obtain images and videos depicting children, including pre-pubescent minors, engaging in sexually explicit conduct. After his arrest, Byfield was placed on pretrial release with conditions that included computer monitoring. On Dec. 3, 2020, Byfield pleaded guilty to one count of Possession of Child Pornography.

On April 15, 2021, while on release pending sentencing, Byfield threatened to kill everyone involved with the computer monitoring program. His pretrial release was subsequently revoked, and on June 23, 2021, Byfield was charged in an indictment for the threats he made towards those supervising him. On Dec. 20, 2021, Byfield pleaded guilty to a charge of Threatening to Assault or Murder a Federal Employee.

Upon release from prison, Byfield will be placed on lifetime supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender and to complete a sex offender treatment program.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carin C. Duryee and Brian E. Kasprzyk, District of Arizona, handled the prosecution.

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor's offices, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force (ICAC), federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. The partners in Project Safe Childhood work to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation, and to teach children how to protect themselves.

Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement officials.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify, and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and 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 over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 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.