A Saugus man was named in a federal indictment resulting from an FBI-led investigation into sex trafficking and child pornography.
Ian Nathanial Johnson, 36, was arrested Friday after prosecutors filed a criminal complaint charging him with distribution and possession of child pornography.
The investigation into Johnson was launched after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received information that Johnson had uploaded sexually exploitative images of children to a Dropbox account, according to the complaint affidavit.
The cases announced Tuesday are part of Project Safe Childhood, which is the Justice Department’s longstanding initiative to combat the ongoing epidemic of child exploitation crimes, according to Department of Justice officials.
“Protecting our children from sexual exploitation is some of the most important work my office does,” said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada. “For years, we have vigorously prosecuted child sexual predators, and we have only increased those efforts in recent times. To those who would seek to victimize our youth, let me be clear: We will use every tool in our arsenal to bring you to justice and thereby stop you from causing further irreparable harm to others.”
Federal agents obtained a search warrant, seized Johnson’s digital devices and discovered more than 200 images of child pornography and chats on Telegram, several of which included images of prepubescent children and children in bondage, the affidavit states.
A copy of the 19-page federal complaint against Johnson notes that after his Saugus residence was searched, agents found evidence that the suspect used the social media site Telegram to send and receive child pornography.
Officials alleged the crimes occurred Sept. 19, 2021, through May 11, 2022.
Homeland Security Investigations is continuing its investigation into Johnson, who is scheduled to make his initial appearance Wednesday in United States District Court, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
Assistant United States Attorney Catharine Richmond from the Violent and Organized Crime Section is prosecuting this case.