CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that John Stuart, 32, of Cheektowaga, NY, was arrested and charged by complaint with receipt and possession of child pornography, possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance, manufacturing of marijuana plants, and maintaining drug-involved premises. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura A. Higgins, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, on October 19, 2020, members of the FBI Buffalo Child Exploitation Task Force, and the Cheektowaga Police Department executed a search warrant at a residence on Cleveland Drive in Cheektowaga, looking for evidence of the possession of child pornography. During the search, investigators seized two laptop computers, a cellphone, two hard drives, and a desktop computer tower from the residence. During the search, investigators also discovered a bedroom that was transformed into a marijuana growing operation. The room consisted of a tent housing approximately five mature marijuana plants, and four smaller plants, being grown hydroponically. Approximately one pound of dried marijuana ready for use, approximately six pounds of wet marijuana, and a quantity of psilocybin mushrooms were also seized. Three firearms, including one loaded with nine rounds of ammunition, were also found in the residence.
A preliminary examination of the cellphone recovered three videos of child pornography.
The defendant was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and released on conditions.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia, and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Sliwinski.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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