New Mexico State Attorney General Gary K. King and U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced today that, during the last three weeks, federal, state and local law enforcement affiliates of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force executed 13 search warrants as part of “Operation Artemis.”
Operation Artemis was aimed at identifying individuals throughout New Mexico involved in the distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography through peer-to-peer file sharing programs.
“At the heart of child pornography cases is our duty to protect our children from sexual exploitation. As long as we have people out there who victimize our children, we will continue to investigate and prosecute these cases, Gonzales said. “I want to thank the law enforcement officers who participate in the ICAC Task Force for their dedication to aggressively investigating those who sexually exploit our children and ensuring that these offenders are held accountable for their serious crimes.”
Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed the unrelated federal and state search warrants at residences in Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Bosque Farms, Corrales, Hobbs, Los Lunas and Santa Fe and seized computers and computer-related evidence related to child pornography offenses.
To date, three individuals have been arrested for violating federal and state child pornography laws based on the search warrants executed as part of Operation Artemis.
Anthony A. Montoya, 50, of Albuquerque was arrested March 5 and charged with possession of child pornography in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.
Montoya has been released on a $35,000 bond.
Leverle J. Deans, 42, of Los Lunas was arrested March 7 and charged with possession of child pornography in the Valencia County Magistrate Court.
Ernest Brian Tucker, 57, of Corrales was arrested March 7 based on a federal criminal complaint charging receipt and possession of child pornography.
According to court filings, a child under the age of 18 reported that she had been sexually molested by Tucker.
On March 28, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Tucker with three counts of receipt of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography.
If convicted, Tucker faces a minimum five years and a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment on each receipt charge and a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment on each possession charge.
Tucker is detained pending trial based on a judicial finding that he poses a danger to the community.
All other matters are pending investigation. A criminal complaint is only an accusation. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“My office is committed to helping stop child predators any way we can … my message to them is that there is a bigger predator out there in cyberspace working to find them and put them in jail … it is the Attorney General’s Office and the rest of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Congratulations to my agents and all the others who made Operation Artemis a big success in New Mexico,” King said.
Law enforcement agencies that participated in Operation Artemis:
- Homeland Security Investigations
- New Mexico State Police
- New Mexico Attorney General’s Office
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Albuquerque Police Department
- Los Lunas Police Department
- Santa Fe Police Department
- Rio Rancho Police Department
- New Mexico Regional Computer Forensic Lab
The criminal cases generated by Operation Artemis will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and local District Attorneys’ Offices.
Operation Artemis was brought to New Mexico as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.