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Smackover man charged in child porn case

by Matthew Hutcheson | August 2, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.

Formal charges were filed last week against Larry Preston, Jr., 53, a Smackover man first arrested in late March following an El Dorado Police Department investigation.

According to court documents, Preston, Jr. is charged with pandering/possessing material depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony; producing/directing, etc. the sexual performance of a child under 17, a Class B felony; distributing/possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony; and computer child pornography, a Class B felony.

The charges were filed by the 13th District Prosecuting Attorney's Office on Thursday, July 21, according to court records.

The EPD began an investigation, court records state, following a report relayed from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). That organization reported that information was received from Meta Platforms, Inc. – the company that controls Facebook – about an "unknown subject" who "uploaded apparent child pornography onto their servers."

Meta Platforms forwarded information including the email address, Facebook username, and ESP User ID information in the report to the NCMEC.

Court records state that the report was received on Jan. 19 by EPD investigators, and the initial report from Meta Platforms to the NCMEC was made on Dec. 21, 2021.

The NCMEC also provided "a copy of the files uploaded" to the account to investigators.

Court documents state that an EPD investigator confirmed "the videos... were in fact child pornography." Records state a video was allegedly uploaded through Facebook Messenger.

On Feb. 8, a subpoena was served to AT&T for information on the IP address associated with the account; court records state that Larry R. Preston, Jr. was the subscriber associated with this information.

Investigators were also allegedly able to confirm that the video provided by the NCMEC and the video allegedly uploaded by Preston to Facebook Messenger were the same via a search warrant issued "for the Meta Platforms account information" provided to them.

According to previous News-Times reporting, Preston Jr.'s father, Larry Preston, Sr., was arrested on April 4 -- three days after Preston Jr.'s arrest – and charged with two counts of sexual indecency with a child and second-degree sexual assault.

Capt. Scott Harwell of the EPD's Criminal Investigative Division said in April that the investigation into Preston Jr. yielded information that led detectives to pursue an arrest warrant for Preston Sr.

Preston Sr. was identified as a suspect after officers executed search warrants for his son's house and vehicle and conducted interviews as a part of the probe into the case, said Harwell in April.

Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Rogers did not respond to a question about whether Preston Sr. had been charged yet by press time .

Print Headline: Smackover man charged in child porn case

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