MISSOULA – A Big Arm man accused of making child pornography videos and sending an image to an undercover agent today pleaded guilty to charges, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Billy Dean Smith, 55, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child. Smith faces a minimum mandatory 15 years to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years to life of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided and set sentencing for Nov. 6. Smith was detained.
In court documents filed in the case, the prosecution said that in January, an undercover FBI agent was investigating a KIK chat group known to exchange child pornography. KIK is a mobile phone app that allows users to exchange instant messages over the internet. Smith exchanged messages with the undercover agent where he described sexually abusing a girl, who was under the age of 18. Smith sent a sexually explicit image of the girl to the undercover agent. Agents obtained a search warrant for Smith’s cell phone, seized it and conducted a forensic analysis of its contents. The forensic examiner located the sexually explicit image of the girl that Smith had sent the agent. The examiner also located other videos and images of the girl. The images were created in January and February using the cell phone. The video contained child pornography of the girl. Smith admitted he had filmed the sexually explicit videos of the girl.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee Peterson is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative, which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.