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Wed, June 26

Cornville man arrested in child porn investigation

Curtis

Curtis

CORNVILLE - Sheriff's deputies and federal agents, working together over the course of several years, developed information that led to the arrest last Friday of a 48-year-old man on pornography charges, said a Sheriff's spokesman.

Homeland Security agents in Flagstaff and Los Angeles became aware of a website chat room in 2009 that they believed was being used to distribute child pornography, said YCSO spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn, and investigators in Los Angeles linked 56 images posted there to an account belonging to Troy Lee Curtis, living in the 2700 block of Horton road in Cornville.

In August 2010, U.S. Marshals and Homeland Security agents, along with YCSO, served a search warrant at Curtis' home. They seized a computer and assorted data storage devices, D'Evelyn said, along with evidence that connected Curtis to use of the computer. Investigators found several hundred child porn images and at least 13 similar video files in the material they seized, D'Evelyn said, and officials at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found nearly 90 images and several video files showing known child victims.

This month, Homeland Security asked a YCSO detective to help with a new search warrant. Last Friday, Curtis was contacted at his home and admitted downloading and storing child porn, D'Evelyn said. Another computer and storage drives were seized and they're being examined as well.

Asked about the two-year gap between the initial search and the arrest, D'Evelyn said the federal agents "continued their investigation to build a case and confirm the images were illegal," because it was not obvious that some of the images portrayed minors, and they had to be examined by certified experts. He added that there was initially a plan to file charges in U.S. District Court, but that further review suggested that a state filing might be more effective. D'Evelyn also said that, although it may not happen in this case, arrests made too soon "can hamper the ability to cast a larger net."

Finally, he said, "some of the issues get down to a federal bureaucracy moving slowly."

Curtis was booked on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and is in custody on a $20,000 bond.

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