OKANOGAN — A Twisp man was arrested and charged in Okanogan County Superior Court for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography.
Jeffery Shawn Reed, 49, was arrested June 20 at his home in River’s Edge Mobile Home Park. He remained in Okanogan County Jail as of press time Monday.
Seven charges were filed against Reed on June 22, including three counts of first-degree possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, two counts of second-degree possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and two counts of second-degree dealing in depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
The first-degree charges carry maximum penalties of 10 years imprisonment and/or $20,000 in fines; the second-degree charges carry maximum penalties of five years imprisonment and/or $10,000 in fines.
His arraignment was set for Monday, July 2. Details were not available by Chronicle press time.
Okanogan County Prosecuting Attorney Branden Platter said his office will reassess the case once more information is obtained from computer and electronic devices.
The arrest came about as the result of investigation by a state of Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which was led by the Seattle Police Department, according to court documents. Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow and members of ICAC Task Force made the arrest.
According to court documents, Seattle Police Detective Danial Conine’s report – which was filed as probable cause – stated, “The investigation led the ICAC Task Force to an Internet protocol address or IP at Sun Mountain Lodge. Reed was an employee in the lodge’s Internet technology department.”
Conine was the arresting officer and investigator with ICAC Task Force, according to court documents.
Public records show Conine connected 1,134 “contraband connections” between August 2016 and January 2018 to a specific IP address.
Conine obtained a search warrant for information regarding the IP address, which he discovered belonged to Sun Mountain Lodge, court documents said. Conine was able to review some of the contraband files and discovered “images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children as young as toddlers.”
Conine’s statement said he believed the suspect was an employee trying to protect his or her identity due to the pattern of activity on the hotel Wi-Fi network.
“The use of a shared Wi-Fi network would normally be a somewhat effective way in attempting to mask the identity of a user, given that the other factors of this investigation did not exist,” court documents said.
Conine learned through interviews with employees and managers that Reed was the only employee whose work schedule was consistent with peer-to-peer pattern obtained during the investigation.
Detectives examined a hard drive they learned “was used only by Reed,” and discovered files with child pornography, according to court documents. That led Conine to obtain another search warrant for Reed’s home.
Reed was arrested and allegedly told detectives he “viewed files of child pornography,” according to court documents.
Reed allegedly told detectives that his “current pattern is to take his personal laptop computer to his job and utilize the guest Wi-Fi connect to run the peer-to-peer program” and download files, court records said. Reed allegedly stated he was “aware that his computer shares files he has downloaded,” but he was unable to figure out how to turn off the sharing function, Conine’s report said.
During the search of Reed’s home, detectives allegedly discovered more devices with depictions of the sexual exploitation of minors, court documents said. The devices confiscated at Reed’s home included his laptop computer, external hard drive and his desktop computer. His report describes two videos found on the devices depicting sexual exploitation of minors, according to court documents.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing is a form of communication for Internet users to use through the use of special software programs. P2P file sharing programs allow multiple computers using the same file sharing network and protocols to transfer digital files from one computer system to another while connected to a network.
Reed’s arrest was the result of a three-month long nationwide campaign called “Operation Broken Heart,” which ICAC task forces across the country centered on disabling peer-to-peer distribution of child pornography,” Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson said.
“These investigations can be very lengthy. We ended up arresting a bunch of people for peer-to-peer file sharing of pornographic images. This case was initiated as a result of the peer-to-peer investigation, a part of the Operation Broken Heart,” Jamieson said. “My understanding is that as we were working on this big thing, Reed showed up on our radar.”
According to the U.S. District Attorney’s office for the Western District in Seattle, more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested nationwide thanks to the three-month long Broken Heart Campaign from March to May.