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Ponchatoula man accused of sending 2,400 files of child porn to undercover agent

11 months 2 weeks 5 days ago December 15, 2015 Dec 15, 2015 Tuesday, December 15 2015 December 15, 2015 3:44 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Brock Sues
Image: Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office

PONCHATOULA - Sheriff’s deputies reported the arrest of a man accused of distributing 2,400 images of child pornography to a Plaquemines Parish undercover detective.

Stephen James Chupko, 30, was arrested Tuesday morning at his Ponchatoula home by members of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office is a part of. Chupko was take into custody by the task force after they searched his residence and located evidence including images of child pornography.

The investigation into Chupko began on Nov. 27 when the PPSO Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Section started an undercover operation into child porn distribution. During the investigation, investigators said Chupko shared digital files via the internet with PPSO Detective Sergeant Aaron Verrette, a member of the ICAC Task Force working in an official undercover capacity.

Detectives examined the files to determine that they contained close to 2,400 images of what appeared to be pornography involving juveniles. Task force agents said further investigation revealed that the cache of files contained nude photographs of prepubescent females, posed in an explicit manner. The ages of the victims ranged from newborns to young girls about nine years of age, but the majority of the images were of infants and toddlers, according to deputies.

The PPSO coordinated with the State Attorney General’s Office and agencies began working the case jointly with investigators obtaining a search warrant for Chupko’s residence once they had determined the files were transmitted from the home via the internet.

Chupko was located at his residence early on the morning of Dec. 15 when ICAC Task Force agents executed the search warrant. The man admitted to investigators that he has been searching for and downloading child porn from the web, but he said he only downloaded the images because he was “curious.” He told investigators that the youngest victim he had downloaded images of appeared to be about nine years of age.

Chupko’s computer hard drive and other electronic devices were seized, and investigators located images and videos of child pornography. The items have been submitted as evidence and will undergo a thorough forensic examination at the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crime Unit. More charges may be filed pending the results of that examination.

Chupko was taken to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail where he was booked with 17 counts of possession of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and as a fugitive from Plaquemines Parish for one count of distribution of child pornography.

He remains in the custody of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and will be transported to Plaquemines Parish at a later time, according to the arrest report.

If convicted, Chupko faces up to 20 years behind bars for each count of pornography involving juveniles.

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