Crack Cocaine and Kiddie Porn; Yup, This North Hill’s Woman’s Going Away for a Spell

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from www.latimes.com – A North Hills woman who authorities allege plied a young girl with crack cocaine and photographed her having sex with an older man was indicted Tuesday on federal charges of producing child pornography and child sex trafficking.

Letha Montemayor Tucker was named Tuesday in a four-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury. If convicted of all the charges, Tucker would face a mandatory minimum federal prison sentence of 10 years and could get up to life in prison, authorities said.

The charges come a month after authorities sought the public’s help in the investigation by releasing photographs of a man and woman depicted in a set of widely circulated child pornography photos.

Tips started pouring in immediately after the photos were released, investigators said.

Tucker, who goes by the name Butterfly, was located about 10 hours after the release of the photos and taken into custody, said Claude Arnold, U.S. Immigration and Customs special agent in charge in Los Angeles for homeland security investigations.

The alleged victim, who was about 12 years old when the photos were taken, was located within a week of the case going public, Arnold said. She is an adult now and is cooperating with authorities, he said. In addition to photographing the girl having sex with the man, authorities say, Tucker also committed sex acts with the victim.

Authorities are still trying to identify the man in the photographs.

The photos were part of a child pornography collection known as the “Jen Series.” The 40-some photos were first discovered by investigators in the Chicago area in 2007. Investigators say images in the series have been reported about 300 times and have been found on computers across the country.

The victim “didn’t even know these images were out there,” Arnold said.

from www.dailynews.com – LOS ANGELES – A North Hills woman named last month as one of two suspects sought in connection with a child pornography case tied to the San Fernando Valley was indicted today on federal charges of producing child porn and child sex trafficking.

Letha Montemayor Tucker, who uses the nickname “Butterfly,” was named in a four-count indictment returned by a Los Angeles federal grand jury, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The indictment accuses Tucker, 52, of conspiracy to produce child pornography, production of child pornography, conspiracy to engage in child sex trafficking and sex trafficking of children. The charges carry a potential federal prison sentence of 10 years to life.

Tucker, who is currently being held without bond, is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court on Feb. 13.

The indictment comes one month after tips provided by the public resulted in the identification of Tucker as one of two people allegedly involved in the production of a widely circulated series of child porn images taken about 11 years ago.

The photos show an adult man, “John Doe,” and a woman, now believed to be Tucker, sexually molesting a girl whom investigators have confirmed was between 11 and 13 at the time the images were taken, federal prosecutors said.

“The sex trafficking of minors is unconscionable under any circumstances,” said United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. “As this case demonstrates, we will spare no effort in locating and prosecuting those who
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seek to take advantage of young, vulnerable victims.”

According to the indictment, both Tucker and the victim lived in a residential hotel in the Los Angeles area between 2000 and 2001.

At the time, Tucker worked as a prostitute, provided the victim with crack cocaine and, on multiple occasions, directed the child to engage in sexual acts with Tucker’s male clients, federal prosecutors allege.

Around May 2001, Tucker contacted “John Doe” and asked whether he would be interested in having sex with the victim in exchange for money, the indictment alleges. Tucker then brought the girl to the man’s home, where he engaged in sexual acts with the victim and photographed the encounter, prosecutors allege.

Based upon forensic analysis conducted by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, investigators believe the images were produced in the Los Angeles area, specifically in the San Fernando Valley.

The illegal images were first discovered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents in Chicago in 2007. The material was submitted to NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program, which determined the victim had not yet been identified and was not linked with other known child porn images.

As a result of leads provided by the public, special agents with HSI located the victim within a week after the case was announced on Jan. 3. She is safe and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, officials said.

“The victim in this case was devastated when she learned from investigators that these sexually explicit images had been distributed over the Internet,” said ICE Director John Morton. “The reality is, every time such images are viewed, the children shown are exploited yet again. That is why we owe it to these young victims to vigorously pursue these cases and hold the perpetrators accountable for their reprehensible crimes.”

While Tucker and the victim were quickly found, the identity and whereabouts of the male suspect remain unknown.

In the images in the child porn series, “John Doe’s” face has been purposely obscured by someone involved in the production of the images, but he appears to be a 40- to 50-year-old white male who would now be about 11 years older.

Tucker was arrested outside a North Hills apartment complex on Jan. 3 by federal and local authorities, less than 10 hours after federal prosecutors released photographs of a man and woman identified as “Jane Doe” and “John Doe.”

HSI agents continue to pursue several leads, but they are appealing again for the public’s help. Anyone with information or tips that can assist in the ongoing investigation is asked to call (866) DHS-2ICE or visit www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp.

An arraignment for Tucker is scheduled Feb. 13.

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