Blackfoot man strikes plea deal in child pornography case

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By Kendra Evensen
kevensen@journalnet.com

A Blackfoot man charged with transporting child pornography has struck a plea deal with prosecutors.

According to the agreement that was filed in U.S. District Court’s Middle District of Florida on Wednesday, Gary Lee Reed has agreed to plead guilty to a charge for knowingly transporting child pornography which had been shipped and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including a computer. A change of plea hearing is scheduled to take place today at 11 a.m. in Orlando, Fla.

Reed was charged with the crime in December, after he returned from a cruise to the Bahamas, according to court records.

Department of Homeland Security agents learned that he might be in possession of child pornography and they asked Customs and Border Protection officers, who were inspecting passengers returning to the U.S. on the cruise ship, to take a closer look at Reed, who had a laptop with him, according to the factual basis report filed with the plea agreement. During the inspection, they found “hundreds of images and videos of child pornography” along with programs that allow people to share digital files over a network on his laptop.

Reed told authorities that he downloaded and viewed the images on the laptop, and had been doing so for years, according to the factual basis report. He also told them that he had a desktop computer, thumb drives, CDs and DVDs where he downloaded and stored child pornography images at his Blackfoot home.

Reed gave agents permission to take those items from his residence, and after they obtained an Idaho warrant to conduct a forensic search of the computers, optical discs, and USB flash and digital hard drives they obtained, they found 38,731 images and 680 videos of child pornography, according to the factual basis report. A further search of the laptop seized in Florida also revealed 3,021 images and 2000 videos of child pornography.

Reed faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release for the crime, according to the plea agreement, which adds that he will also have to register as a sex offender.

Although the prosecution is planning to make certain sentencing recommendations as part of the agreement, the judge doesn’t have to agree to anything specified in the deal.