By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A 60-year-old Mercer County man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for a child pornography offense.
Johnny Richard Rowe of Bluewell was charged with possession of child pornography. The single-count indictment alleged that on June 19, Rowe possessed hundreds of images and videos of child pornography on his computer, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a statement this morning.
Rowe faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. A federal grand jury sitting Tuesday in Beckley indicted Rowe.
The West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Johnston is in charge of the prosecution.
The indictment was brought as part of an ongoing initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse in the Southern District of West Virginia, Booth said.
Rowe was arrested June 19 when Cpl. S.A. Sommers, a member of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and an investigator with the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force executed a search warrant in Bluewell. Sommers was assisted by Sheriff Don Meadows, other sheriff’s deputies and ICAC investigators with the West Virginia State Police.
The warrant resulted in Rowe’s arrest for 133 counts of receiving and possessing material visually portraying a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to a statement issued by the sheriff’s department when Rowe was apprehended.
Rowe is incarcerated at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond.