By Roger Lanse
Samuel Elliott, 32, of Columbus, N.M. pleaded guilty Wednesday, March 2, in Las Cruces federal court to producing child pornography involving three young children and possessing child pornography.
Elliott was arrested on Nov. 21, 2014, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release, on an eight-count indictment. The first three counts allege that between Dec. 2012 and July 2013, he used two young children between one and five years of age and a third over the age of five years to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct. The remaining five counts assert that Elliott possessed child pornography in July 2013. All eight counts were committed in Luna County.
In his plea agreement, Elliott admitted using a video camera to record a video of himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with one of the younger children, and admitted to using a video camera to produce sexually explicit visual depictions of a sleeping child between the ages of five and eleven. The press release stated that Elliott also admitted that on Dec. 10, 2012, he used his iPhone to produce sexually explicit depictions of the other younger child.
According to the release, Elliott acknowledged that forensic examinations recovered thousands of images of child pornography from his iPhone; 48 images of child pornography from his hard-drive; more than 900 images of child pornography from his desktop computers; and 72 videos of child pornography from his Dropbox online storage account.
As part of his plea agreement, Elliott agreed to pay $210,012 in restitution to each of the three victims if they request restitution, and $25,000 to each victim associated with the five possessions of child pornography charges who requests restitution prior to sentencing.
Elliott has been in custody since his arrest, the release said, and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. He faces a prison term of not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years on each of the three productions of child pornography charges and up to 20 years in prison on each of the five possession of child pornography charges.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of Homeland Security Investigations, the New Mexico State Police, and the Las Cruces Police Department, all of which are members of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force.