Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Trent Drexel Howard, 49, of West Richland, Washington, made his initial appearance today in federal court following his extradition from Kazakhstan.
On June 18, 2019, a federal grand jury in Eastern Washington returned a four-count indictment charging Howard with distribution, receipt, attempted production, and possession of child pornography. A warrant was then issued for Howard’s arrest. On January 7, 2020, the grand jury returned a 15-count superseding indictment, adding additional charges of production and attempted production of child pornography involving 12 minor victims.
According to court documents, Howard was working in Kazakhstan when federal agents executed a search warrant at his residence in the United States and seized several electronic devices. Court documents further indicate that, after learning of the investigation, Howard stayed in Kazakhstan and was eventually arrested by Kazakhstan authorities on September 12, 2019. A Kazakh judge ordered Howard be detained pending an extradition request from the United States. According to the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, Howard’s removal from Kazakhstan is the first extradition from that country by the United States.
United States Attorney Hyslop said, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington is grateful to the Kazakhstan authorities for their assistance in bringing Howard back to the United States to face these charges. Likewise, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in securing defendant Howard’s extradition from Kazakhstan, as did State Department partners.”
Earl Camp, Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge, Seattle Field Office, said, “Thanks to our strong international partnerships, Mr. Howard will now face justice for allegedly exploiting multiple children. This case is an example of how the FBI will pursue justice beyond American borders and safeguard vulnerable members of our community.”
The crimes Howard is alleged to have committed are punishable by varying terms of imprisonment, including a mandatory minimum term of 15 years, a $250,000 fine for each count, and up to a life term of supervised release following any prison sentence.
The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is being pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
· Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
· Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
· Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
· Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
· Community awareness and educational programs.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Seattle Division, Tri-Cities Resident Agency, and the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with the assistance of the West Richland Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Ann Wick, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.