RELEASE SUMMARY – August 28, 2020
SAN DIEGO – Christopher Duane Wade was sentenced in federal court today to more than 11 years in federal prison for distribution of child pornography. Wade first came to the attention of law enforcement in April of 2019, when he communicated with an undercover agent from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), posing as a 13-year-old girl on an encrypted chat application. After more than a week of sexually explicit chats with the apparent 13-year-old girl, Wade arranged a meeting. When Wade showed up for the meeting, he was met by HSI special agents. Agents seized Wade’s cellular phone and found it contained child pornography, including depictions of the abuse of very young children. Wade’s cell phone also contained chat discussions between Wade and other individuals, where Wade sent others files of child pornography.
In the sentencing proceedings, the Government argued that Wade, who pled guilty to child pornography charges, engaged in egregious conduct that distinguished him from other child pornography offenders. The prosecutor pointed to conversations located on Wade’s cell phone that encouraged others to sexually abuse minors to whom they had access, and to document such abuse for purposes of distributing it to others. Wade had also engaged in sexually explicit chats with two other undercover agents posing as minors prior to his arrest.
Following his release from federal prison, the Court imposed a 10-year term of supervised release, during which time Wade will be required to comply with special conditions, including conditions prohibiting him from having contact with minors.
“One of our most important roles as prosecutors is to protect our nation’s vulnerable children,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “In addition to personally engaging in despicable conduct, this defendant worked to recruit others to follow in his footsteps. The sentence set forth today makes our community safer and recognizes the severe harm child pornography inflicts on its victims.” U.S. Attorney Brewer commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Janet Cabral and the agents at Homeland Security Investigations for their work on this case.
This case is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking (VCHT) Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Formed in 2019, by U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer, the VCHT is tasked with leading collaborations between federal and local law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violent crimes, firearms and gang cases; sex trafficking and child exploitation; civil rights, and labor trafficking. The VCHT Section oversees the Southern District of California Coordinators for Project Safe Childhood, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and Human Trafficking.
DEFENDANT Criminal Case No. 19cr2285-DMS
Christopher Duane Wade Age: 41 San Diego, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGE
Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2), Distribution of Images of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct
Maximum penalties: 5-20 years in prison
Homeland Security Investigations