Richland man who made child porn with hidden cameras faces 23+ years in prison

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Richland man who used secret cameras to record and later distribute 168 files of child pornography was extradited out of Kazakhstan and has now entered a plea agreement that would land him in federal prison for 23 years, the U.S. Attorney General’s Eastern Washington office announced Thursday.

According to Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, 50-year-old Trent Drexel Howard pleaded guilty to one count of Attempted Production of Child Pornography. His plea agreement suggests a 23-year sentence for the crimes.

“Production of child pornography is a despicable crime. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will continue to aggressively prosecute those who exploit children,” Attorney Harrington said. “I commend our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners who investigated this case.”

A district judge will determine whether to accept this plea agreement during a sentencing hearing set for January 2022.

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Howard used hidden cameras and other recording devices in his Richland home to capture explicit videos and photos of 14 separate children from March 2008 to April 2016. Federal agents executed a search warrant on his Tri-Cities home, where they seized more than 100 electronic devices. He transferred the aforementioned files to an undercover agent through a publically accessible file-sharing network online.

Federal agents executed the search warrant while Howard was in Kazakhstan, where local authorities arrested and later extradited him from the country bordering Russia and China. This was the first time a U.S. criminal was extradited from Kazakhstan.

Detectives from the Kennewick, Richland, and Moses Lake Police Departments contributed to this criminal investigation alongside federal agents.

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