Stamford Resident Arrested on Federal Child Pornography Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 22, 2010|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that JUAN CARLOS MELENDEZ, 31, a citizen of Peru residing on Highland Road in Stamford, was arrested today by members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force on a federal criminal complaint charging MELENDEZ with possession of child pornography and receipt and distribution of child pornography.
According to court documents and statements made in court, it is alleged that MELENDEZ used a peer-to-peer file sharing program to receive and distribute images of child pornography. In March 2010, agents with the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force, with the assistance of the Stamford Police Department, conducted a search of MELENDEZ’s residence and seized computer components, including an external hard drive. Forensic analysis of the external hard drive has revealed at least 4,000 identified images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Following his arrest this morning at his residence, MELENDEZ appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport. MELENDEZ has been ordered detained pending a review of his immigration status.
If convicted of the charge of possession of child pornography, MELENDEZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. If convicted of the charge of receipt and distribution of child pornography, MELENDEZ faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force, which includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the New Haven Police Department. The Stamford Police Department has provided valuable assistance to the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Deborah R. Slater.
The Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force investigates crimes occurring over the Internet, including computer intrusion, Internet fraud, copyright violations, Internet threats and harassment, and online crimes against children. The Task Force also provides computer forensic review services for participating agencies. The Task Force is housed in the main FBI office in New Haven, Connecticut. For more information about the Task Force, please contact the FBI at 203-777-6311.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit www.cybertipline.com.