A Smackover man who was charged in July 2022 with several child pornography-related crimes pleaded guilty on Tuesday and was sentenced to a total of 60 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Larry Preston, Jr., 54, pleaded guilty to crimes including pandering/possessing material depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony; producing/directing, etc. the sexual performance of a child under 17, a Class B felony; distributing/possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony; and computer child pornography, a Class B felony.
Preston, Jr. pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal negotiated between his defense counsel, Gary McDonald, and 13th Circuit Prosecuting Attorney’s Office deputy prosecuting attorney Carla Gibson.
According to court records, the El Dorado Police Department began an investigation following a report relayed from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). That organization reported that information was received from Meta Platforms, Inc. – the company that controls Facebook – about an “unknown subject” who “uploaded apparent child pornography onto their servers.”
Meta Platforms forwarded information including the email address, Facebook username and user I.D. information in the report to the NCMEC.
Court records state that the report was received on Jan. 19 by EPD investigators, and the initial report from Meta Platforms to the NCMEC was made on Dec. 21, 2021.
The NCMEC also provided a copy of the files uploaded by the account to investigators.
Court documents state that an EPD investigator confirmed “the videos… were in fact child pornography.” Records state a video was allegedly uploaded through Facebook Messenger.
On Feb. 8, a subpoena was served to AT&T for information including name and physical address connected to the IP address associated with the account; Larry R. Preston, Jr. was the subscriber associated with this information.
Investigators were able to confirm that the video provided by the NCMEC and the video allegedly uploaded by Preston to Facebook Messenger were the same via a search warrant issued for the Meta Platforms account information provided to them.
Preston, Jr. was sentenced to 10 years in prison for pandering/possessing material depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child; 20 years in prison for producing/directing, etc. the sexual performance of a child under 17; 10 years in prison for distributing/possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child; and 20 years in prison for computer child pornography. The sentences will run consecutively, resulting in a total of 60 years in prison.
Preston pleaded guilty during an appearance in Judge Jim Andrews’ 13th Circuit, Division 4 court on Tuesday.
According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office jail bookings, Preston was in custody at the Union County Jail as of Thursday afternoon.