A Tucumcari man arrested in a New Mexico State Police Internet sting is facing four federal felony charges of child pornography.
The charges against Stephen Hensley, 41, follow a four-count indictment returned by a grand jury on Dec. 15, according to Elizabeth M. Martinez, assistant U.S. Attorney for public affairs. Hensley was arraigned in federal court Thursday in Albuquerque where he pleaded not guilty.
Counts 1 and 2 charge Hensley received visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on Dec. 25, 2009 and May 3, 2010, according to court documents. Counts 3 and 4 allege that on July 1, 2010, Hensley possessed computers containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Martinez said Hensley was arrested at home Tuesday by state police and agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“The indictment was unsealed and read during Thursday’s arraignment,” Martinez said.
Hensley was ordered to reside at an undisclosed halfway house pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
The charges stem from a special state police Online Predator Unit investigation last summer.
On July 8, 2010, Hensley was arrested after investigators linked him to an Internet profile trading child pornography. State police said investigators received information linking an Internet address in Tucumcari to someone sharing child pornography.
Martinez said the case has been assigned to U.S. District Senior Judge James A. Parker. She said the case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlyn E. Rees.
If convicted of either count 1 or 2, Hensley faces a maximum 20 years in prison. Counts 3 and 4 carry a maximum 10 years each.
A criminal complaint filed in Quay County Magistrate Court on July 1, 2010 was dismissed Friday morning by 10th Judicial Assistant District Attorney Jocelyn M. Torres, according to Quay County District Court documents. In that complaint, Hensley was charged with 45 felony counts of manufacturing child pornography, three felony counts of distribution of child pornography and 236 felony counts of possession of child pornography.
Attempts to reach Hensley’s attorney were not immediately successful as of Friday.