Thursday, February 29, 2024

Joplin man charged with receiving, distributing child porn, tells FBI he's a pedophile

A 22-year-old Joplin man was charged Wednesday with receiving and distributing child pornography and is being held without bond in the Greene County Jail.

The probable cause affidavit indicates Reagan Elijah Garcia distributed photos of family members, attempted to destroy a phone that had 100 child pornography files and told the FBI that he was a pedophile.

From the affidavit:

While attempting to locate GARCIA, this Affiant was informed by FBI- WFO that, on or about February 21,2024, Kik user bopit2start had reengaged in conversation with the UC. The February 2024 conversations were also conducted using the Sessions encrypted messaging platform. 

During these conversations, GARCIA distributed multiple files of suspected child pornography to the UC, depicting prepubescent female children being sexually abused in various ways, including anal intercourse. 

In one of the images, the child is depicted with various restraint devices being utilized on the child. In the text conversation, GARCIA admitted to the UC that he had sexually assaulted a female child within the past couple of days. 

On February 28, 2024, a federal search warrant was executed on GARCIA's residence, located in Newton County, Missouri, also within the Western District of Missouri. 

As agents were clearing GARCIA's residence, they came into contact with GARCIA in a side room of the residence. GARCIA was escorted outside the residence and patted down for weapons by FBI Special Agent (SA) Issac McPheeters. 

As SA McPheeters began patting GARCIA down, GARCIA began actively resisting. While he was resisting, GARCIA was holding a cellular telephone, which SA McPheeters was able to take from GARCIA and place on the ground. 

Even after the phone was placed on the ground, GARCIA's hands remained clasped in front of him at the waist and appeared to be attempting to break an item with his hands. GARCIA was given repeated commands to stop resisting, and to put his hands behind his back. GARCIA refused to do so, and was taken to the ground, with his hands and arms underneath him. He repeatedly refused to obey commands to put his arms behind his back. 

Multiple agents and TFOs assisted in forcing GARCIA's hands and arms behind his back and placing GARCIA into handcuffs. After being restrained, he was returned to his feet, and placed in this Affiant's assigned vehicle for an interview. 

A subsequent search of the immediate area where the struggle with GARCIA occurred revealed multiple broken pieces of a microSD card. 

In its current state, the microSD card is unable to be forensically examined. Also, as a result of the struggle, SA McPheeters suffered cuts and abrasions to his hands. 

During a post-Miranda interview, GARCIA admitted to destroying the microSD card in an attempt to conceal his collection of child pornography that was stored on the device.

He was asked how much child pornography was on the SD card, and he said possibly 100 files. He added that they may have been 60 images and 40 video files on the microSD card. 

GARCIA admitted to searching for child sexual abuse material for many years and would masturbate while watching it. He said he utilized multiple messaging platforms to communicate with other individuals who also had a sexual interest in children. 

He identified himself as a "pedo" or "pedophile" during the interview. 

He claimed he had never physically touched any child when he was an adult, and denied producing images of child pornography. However, he did state that he told multiple individuals that he was responsible for producing these images. GARCIA was asked to identify the photograph that depicted the small female child sitting next to the adult that he sent the UC during their January 2024 Session chat. GARCIA identified the child as a family member's child and noted that he was also depicted in the image. 

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