(INDIANAPOLIS) — A former FBI Supervisory special agent who worked on some of the bureau’s most high-profile terrorism and bombing cases, including the Unabomber case, the USS Cole bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 attacks, has been arrested and charged with distributing child pornography.
Donald J. Sachtleben, a former FBI agent who served as a team leader on the high-profile investigations, was charged in a criminal complaint that was unsealed Monday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indiana.
Sachtleben was charged with knowingly possessing child pornography and knowingly distributing child pornography. According to his LinkedIn profile, he left the Bureau in 2008 after a 25-year career that spanned the globe.
The investigation by the FBI and an Internet Crimes Against Children task force spanned back to last fall, when investigators executed a search warrant of another man allegedly trading images of child pornography. A review of the computer of that suspect, identified as Jason Nicoson from Illinois, led agents to Sachtleben and an Internet protocol address at his home in Carmel, Ind.
“A limited on-scene triage of the evidence was completed on computers and storage media found inside the residence and a vehicle. Approximately 30 image and video files containing child pornography were recovered from within a Hitachi Hard Drive inside a Sony VAIO Laptop,” the criminal complaint said of items recovered from Sachtleben’s home after federal agents executed a search warrant at his residence.
“Sachleben’s [sic] wife was interviewed during the execution of the search warrant and denied any knowledge of the child pornography found in Sony VAIO laptop or any involvement with child pornography distribution or possession,” FBI Special Agent Kerri Reifel wrote in the affidavit.
The images that were viewed on Sachtleben’s computer allegedly matched those that were found on Jason Nicoson’s computer from the Illinois search.
If convicted, Donald Sachtleben could face 20 years in prison on the distribution charge and 10 years for possession.
“Today’s announcement underscores this serious commitment, and should make clear that no matter who you are, you will be brought to justice if you are found guilty of such criminal behavior,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett.
The Justice Department has made prosecuting these cases a priority under Project Safe Childhood, which was set up in 2006. According to Justice Department statistics there has been a 42-percent increase in the number of cases the department has brought involving the sexual exploitation of children, with over 2,700 indictments obtained in 2011.
Attorneys for Sachtleben did not return phone messages or emails when contacted by ABC News.
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