In a recent case in the Eastern District of Texas, a Bridge City man named Dereck Wayne Winstead has been found guilty of federal child pornography violations. U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs announced the conviction, stating that Winstead was found guilty of possession of child pornography following a trial before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone. The investigation began in 2020 when federal agents received cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, indicating that someone in Orange County, Texas, was accessing and possessing images of child pornography. A search of Winstead’s residence led to the discovery of over 300 images of child pornography on his electronic devices. Winstead now faces up to 20 years in federal prison as a result of his conviction. This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative launched by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Conviction of a Man in Orange County for Child Pornography Violations: An In-depth Look at the Case and Legal Consequences
About the Case
Conviction of a Man in Orange County
In a significant development in the fight against child pornography, a man from Bridge City, Orange County, has been convicted of federal child pornography violations. This case highlights the commitment of law enforcement agencies to combat the exploitation and abuse of children.
Child Pornography Violations
Dereck Wayne Winstead, 34, was found guilty by a jury of possession of child pornography following a trial before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone on September 12, 2023. The charges against Winstead are the result of a comprehensive investigation into his disturbing activities involving child pornography.
Announcement by U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs
U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs announced the conviction, emphasizing the gravity of child pornography offenses and the dedication of law enforcement agencies to safeguarding the welfare of children. This successful prosecution is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement partners.
Background of the Case
Cyber Tips from NCMEC
In 2020, federal agents received two cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding an individual in Orange County, Texas, who had been accessing and possessing child pornography. These cyber tips served as a crucial starting point for the subsequent investigation.
Investigation and Connection to Winstead
Following the cyber tips, a thorough investigation was launched to identify and apprehend the individual responsible for the possession of child pornography. The accounts accessing these illicit materials were traced back to Dereck Wayne Winstead, linking him directly to the crimes.
Search and Discovery of Electronic Devices
In an effort to gather evidence, law enforcement officers conducted a consensual search at Winstead’s residence on March 30, 2022. During the search, four electronic devices, including a custom-built gaming computer, were seized. A forensic analysis of the gaming computer revealed over 300 images of child pornography, including explicit content involving children under the age of 12.
Potential Prison Sentence
As a result of his conviction, Winstead faces up to 20 years in federal prison. The severity of the sentence reflects the gravity of child pornography offenses and serves as a deterrent against individuals engaged in the exploitation and abuse of children.
Sentencing Hearing and Investigation by U.S. Probation Office
To determine an appropriate sentence, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office. This investigation will consider various factors, including the nature and extent of the crimes committed by Winstead.
Project Safe Childhood
Initiative to Combat Child Sexual Exploitation
Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. This initiative brings together federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals involved in the online exploitation of children.
Role of United States Attorneys’ Offices
The United States Attorneys’ Offices play a crucial role in leading and coordinating efforts under Project Safe Childhood. These offices work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure the protection of children and the successful prosecution of perpetrators.
Partnerships and Resources
Project Safe Childhood relies on strong partnerships and a wide range of resources to combat child sexual exploitation. By leveraging the expertise and capabilities of various agencies and organizations, this initiative aims to identify and rescue victims, while also holding offenders accountable for their crimes.
Investigation and Prosecution
Homeland Security Investigations Beaumont Resident Agency
The investigation into Dereck Wayne Winstead’s child pornography violations was conducted by the Homeland Security Investigations Beaumont Resident Agency. This agency played a critical role in gathering evidence and ensuring a successful prosecution.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Grove and Jonathan Lee
The successful prosecution of Winstead’s case was led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Grove and Jonathan Lee. Their dedication, expertise, and commitment to justice contributed to the conviction and sentencing of Winstead.
Press Release: Henderson County Man Sentenced for Child Obscenity Violations
In a related case, a former mayor of Athens, Texas, was sentenced to federal prison for child obscenity violations in the Eastern District of Texas. This serves as another example of law enforcement’s continued efforts to combat child exploitation.
Press Release: Denton County Sex Offender Sentenced for Child Exploitation Violations
A Denton man was recently sentenced to six years in federal prison for child exploitation violations in the Eastern District of Texas. This case underscores the determination of law enforcement to bring offenders to justice and protect vulnerable children.
Press Release: Evadale Little League Coach Guilty of Federal Child Exploitation Violations
An Evadale, Texas Little League coach pleaded guilty to federal child exploitation charges in the Eastern District of Texas. This case serves as a reminder that individuals in positions of trust can exploit vulnerable children, necessitating ongoing efforts to combat such crimes.
Eastern District of Texas Beaumont Office
For more information about the case or any other inquiries, please contact the Eastern District of Texas Beaumont Office:
- Address: 550 Fannin, Suite 1250 Beaumont, Texas 77701
- Email: USAO-EDTX Beaumont
- Phone: 409-839-2538
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