Gibsonton Man Federally Indicted and Charged with Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography After using Twitter to Tag Child Pornography to Local News Anchors Twitter Pages
PCSO Press Release:
In June 2017, Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force detectives began an investigation into an unknown suspect who was using Twitter accounts to follow and tag a local news anchor’s Twitter handle with images of child pornography. After the first incident, the victim blocked the Twitter account. The suspect then continued to send/tag images of child pornography using other fictitious accounts.
The first Twitter account name used was “Mecca” (specifically “@Mecca15675165”); this account began following the victim via her business related Twitter account. This Twitter account name was “blocked” and “reported” to the Twitter support team for removal. Blocking the suspect user then removes the “following” association and further prevents the user account from making contact again.
Later in June another unknown suspect identified by the account name “Tatiana” (specifically “@Tatiana81529156”) began following the victim via her business related Twitter account. This time the suspect sent multiple graphic images of child pornography. This account was also blocked and reported to Twitter.
Detectives also learned that the (then unknown) suspect used the Twitter account name “Cindy” (specifically “@Cindy85156879”) and “Micah” (specifically “@Micah43833128”) to follow the television station’s and the anchor’s Twitter account.
PCSO investigators submitted four investigative subpoenas for the log-in I.P. address for each suspect Twitter account. The resulting information showed the IP address came back to a physical address in Gibsonton, Florida.
PCSO detectives made contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and briefed them on the status of the PCSO investigation. The FBI advised they would continue with the investigation. On June 18th PCSO detectives assisted the FBI with the execution of a search warrant at the home of 20-year-old Marchaun Browning of Gibsonton, in Hillsborough County. During an initial forensic preview of his electronic devices, detectives found 18 images of child pornography. Detectives seized the devices, and later conducted a complete forensic analysis. After forensic analysis of Browning’s electronic devices PCSO detectives found a total of 163 child porn images.
PCSO detectives executed a search warrant for Browning’s Twitter accounts. Twitter complied with the warrant and PCSO forensic detectives located nine (9) images of child pornography relating to the “Cindy85156879” Twitter account; fifteen (15) images of child pornography relating to the “Mecca15675165” Twitter account; one (1) image of child pornography relating to the “Micah43833128” Twitter account; and ten (10) images of child pornography related to the “Tatiana81529156” Twitter account.
After the search warrants, suspect interview, and forensic analysis of Browning’s electronic storage devices and Twitter accounts were completed, the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida presented the findings to a federal grand jury. On August 16, 2017, the grand jury returned an indictment, charging the suspect with three counts of distribution of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography. According the indictment:
“Marchaun Browning did knowingly distribute a visual depiction using any means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce, and that had been shipped and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce, including by computer, when the production of the visual depiction involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and the visual depiction was of such conduct. In violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(2) and 9b)(1).” (3 counts)
“Marchaun Browning did knowingly possess a matter which contained a visual depiction that had been shipped and transported using any means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce, including by computer, when the production of the visual depiction involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and the visual depiction was of such conduct. In violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(4)(B) and 2252(b)(2).” (1 count)
Browning was taken into federal custody on Friday, August 18th, and has since bonded out of jail.
“We suspect that there may be other victims related to Marchaun Browning. We are asking that anyone who received pornographic images of children from the Twitter accounts used by Browning to contact investigators. We know there is an association between those who possess and distribute child pornography with those who sexually molest children. We want to know if there are other victims out there.” —Grady Judd, Sheriff