Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grand jury files new charges against Albuquerque balloon pilot accused of child sex crimes

A federal grand jury filed a superseding indictment Wednesday charging Albuquerque balloon pilot Bentley Streett, 39, with more federal sex crimes against minors.

He had previously been arrested on Oct. 3 of last year and was indicted Oct. 21 on two counts of coercion of a minor and two counts of transferring obscene matter to minors.

Wednesday's filing charges Streett with nine counts relating to either engaging in sexual conduct with minors or trying to obtain pornography from them.

He faces two counts of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors; four counts of attempted production of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and three counts of transferring obscene matter to minors.

The first two counts allege Streett traveled to Illinois in July and August 2013 to have sexual relations with a female minor.

Two counts allege he tried to persuade another female minor to send him child pornography in Sept and Dec. 2013, and two other counts allege he tried to persuade a third female minor to send him child pornography in Nov. 2013.

One of the counts says Streett "transferred obscene material" to the first female, and two other counts say he did the same to the third female victim.

If convicted of any of the crimes, he will be forced to register as a sex offender.

The sexual relations with a minor charges carry a penalty of up to 30 years imprisonment on each count; the production of child pornography charges carry penalties of between 15 and 30 years on each count, and the transfer of obscene materials charges carry up to ten years imprisonment on each count.

If convicted of all nine counts against him, Streett faces between 45 years and life in prison.

In October 2013, the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) received a tip that Streett had allegedly solicited nude photographs from a 15-year-old in El Paso, Texas.

A search warrant conducted on Streett's cell phone records should he sent numerous text messages to the 15-year-old, and the victim told investigators Streett had asked her to send him nude photos, though she declined.

This led to the original grand jury indictment.

Investigators also discovered that Streett allegedly sent text messages to a second victim, a 14-year-old, asking her to also send him nude photographs. They said he also sent that girl nude photos of males and females, some of whom appeared to be under the age of 18.

Streett pleaded not guilty to charges in Albuquerque Metropolitan Court in February 2014. A motion to dismiss the case was denied last June. 

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