Peifeng Meng, 43, of Pennington, N.J., was arrested at his home yesterday morning by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, who executed a search warrant. He was charged with second-degree distribution of 25 or more computer files of child pornography and third-degree possession of 100 or more files of child pornography. During execution of the search warrant, Meng allegedly attempted to grab the handgun of one of the state detectives, but he was stopped from taking the gun and subdued. Two state detectives suffered minor injuries in the scuffle. The detectives were treated at a local hospital and released. Meng was charged with second-degree attempt to disarm a law enforcement officer and two counts of third-degree aggravated assault on an officer as a result of that incident. Meng was lodged in the Mercer County Jail with bail set at $100,000, full cash only.
Meng was arrested as the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, Cyber Crimes Unit. A detective in the Cyber Crimes Unit was conducting an online investigation on a peer-to-peer file sharing network that is popular with child pornography offenders when she identified a computer address that was being used to download and share child pornography. The detective successfully downloaded more than 140 computer files of child pornography that allegedly were being shared from that IP address. Detectives traced the computer address to Meng’s home in Pennington. During execution of the search warrant at Meng’s house, detectives allegedly found child pornography during a preliminary examination of his smart phone. Computers and other electronic devices were seized and taken to the Division of Criminal Justice Computer Forensic Laboratory in Hamilton for a full forensic examination. The Hopewell Township Police and ICE Homeland Security Investigations assisted in the execution of the search warrant. The Mercer County Special Victims Unit also assisted in the operation.
“Offenders who share child pornography online, as Meng is alleged to have done, motivate and create a market for the child predators who torture innocent children to create these vile materials,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We’ll continue to use our tough new child pornography law to charge these depraved individuals who amass and distribute large quantities of this filth.”
“We want offenders who exchange child pornography on the Internet to know that we’re on their peer-to-peer networks and we’re watching them,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The next file they download or share may be the one that lands them in prison.”
The investigation was conducted by Detective Laura Hurley, Deputy Attorney General Jillian Carpenter and other members of the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, Cyber Crimes Unit, under the supervision of Lt. Jon Powers, Deputy Bureau Chief Julia Glass and Bureau Chief Michael Monahan. Attorney General Porrino also thanked the Hopewell Township Police Department, ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the Mercer County Special Victims Unit for their valuable assistance.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Under New Jersey’s new child pornography statute, there is a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of five years for distribution of 25 or more computer files of child pornography. In addition, possession of 100 or more files of child pornography carries a presumption that the defendant will face a state prison term of between three and five years, even if the defendant has no prior felony conviction.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig urged anyone with information about the online distribution of child pornography – or about suspected improper contact by persons communicating with children on the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline: 888-648-6007.
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