BEAUMONT, Texas – A Bridge City man has been convicted of federal child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs today.
Dereck Wayne Winstead, 34, was found guilty by a jury of possession of child pornography following a trial before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone on September 12, 2023.
According to information presented in court, in 2020, federal agents received two cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) with information that an individual in Orange County, Texas, had been accessing and possessing images of child pornography. An investigation revealed the accounts accessing the child pornography were connected to Winstead. On March 30, 2022, law enforcement officers conducted a consensual search at Winstead’s residence and located four electronic devices, including a custom-built gaming computer. A search of the custom-built gaming computer by a computer forensic analyst revealed over 300 images of child pornography including images of children under the age of 12.
Under federal statutes, Winstead faces up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations Beaumont Resident Agency and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Grove and Jonathan Lee.