Murphy man gets 7 years in federal prison for distributing indecent photos of children

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. – On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced Lawrence Keith Limon, 52, of Murphy, N.C. to 72 months in prison for distribution of child pornography, announced William T. Stetzer, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Limon was also ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison.

Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charlotte, and Sheriff Derrick Palmer of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office join Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer in making today’s announcement.

According to filed documents and statements made in court, from June 2017 to January 2019, Limon engaged in the online distribution of images depicting the sexual abuse of children. Court records show that law enforcement became aware that an individual, later identified as Limon, was distributing multiple child pornography using various internet platforms, including the social media blog platform Tumblr.com and a Gmail email account. On March 12, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Limon’s resident, seizing three electronic devices including a tablet, a cellphone and a laptop. A forensic analysis of the seized devices revealed that it contained more than 600 images of child pornography.

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On November 30, 2020, Limon pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography. He is currently in custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

In making today’s announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer thanked HSI and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of this case.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) Alexis Solheim, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the case. Ms. Solheim is a state prosecutor with the office of the 43rd Prosecutorial District and was assigned by District Attorney Ashley Welch to serve as a SAUSA with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville. Ms. Solheim is duly sworn in both state and federal courts. The SAUSA position is a reflection of the partnership between the office of the 43rd Prosecutorial District and the United States Attorney’s Office.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice, aimed at combating the growing online sexual exploitation of children.  By combining resources, federal, state and local agencies are better able to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue those victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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