Child porn investigation leads to North Belle Vernon man's arrest
A North Belle Vernon man was arrested after agents from the state Attorney General's Office raided his home Friday morning as part of a child pornography investigation.
Aaron Stoneking, 32, of 402 Fayette St., was arrested after agents discovered several files containing child pornography during an online investigation, according to a news release issued by Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.
Stoneking is charged with 18 counts of possession of child pornography, two counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.
He was arraigned Friday evening via video conference before Magisterial District Judge Mark Bilik and sent to Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $15,000 straight cash bond.
The pornographic files were allegedly downloaded from a peer-to-peer network and the computer's IP address was later identified as serving the Stone-king residence.
Two of the files allegedly downloaded by Stoneking showed two boys between the ages of 8 and 12 years old engaged in sex acts with older individuals.
As part of their investigation, agents learned from Comcast that the IP address belonged to Mallory Stoneking, Aaron Stoneking's mother, as the subscriber to the high-speed Internet service.
North Belle Vernon police Chief Jim Bedsworth said Mallory Stoneking is not a suspect.
“Ms. Stoneking was home, but she was permitted to leave the residence,” Bedsworth said. “She is not being charged.”
Upon executing the search warrant at the Stoneking residence, agents encountered an estimated two dozen World War II and modern assault rifles and thousands of rounds of various types of ammunition. Additionally, agents discovered two defused grenades and an unspecified caliber military projectile. The Allegheny County Bomb Squad was called to assist at the scene.
A K-9 officer from the Westmoreland County Park Police was brought in to sweep the house as well.
Bomb squad personnel removed a “frag-bag” of evidence, believed to be the live munitions that were found in the home.
Other agents could be seen carrying hard drives and computer hardware from the home.
Bedsworth said his officers were called just after 11 a.m. to assist agents on the scene.
“Initially, we were called in to assist the Attorney General's office with a search and arrest warrant for an individual residing here,” Bedsworth said at the scene. “During the course of the search, a cache of live ammunition was found and it was decided that it was best to have the bomb squad come to dispose of the suspected dangerous ammunition.”
Once the residence was secure, agents seized a MacBook Pro laptop, a desktop computer and several gaming consoles, which will be analyzed by the Attorney General's Computer Forensics Unit as part of an ongoing investigation, according to the press release.
According to a search warrant, the investigation began Jan. 23 after the suspect allegedly began downloading pornographic videos from a monitored network.
Armed agents wearing gloves were seen entering the house, which was filled with debris.
“It was bad,” Bedsworth said. “There was stuff all over the place. After seeing the condition of the house, I thought it was best to call in the borough code enforcement officer.”
Code Enforcement Officer John Garber and borough Emergency Management Coordinator Michael Parzynski joined Bedsworth and Patrolman David Winkler to tour the house and property after agents left the scene.
“Due to the excessive amount of debris,” Garber declared the residence as “dangerous.”
Placards were placed on the front and rear doors, forbidding entrance to the home.
“Unless someone is in there cleaning it up, they're trespassing,” Bedsworth said.
After the agents departed the scene, Mallory Stoneking returned to the residence and was informed that she would not be permitted to re-enter the home.
Kane thanked the bomb squad, state police at the Belle Vernon Barracks, the NBV Police Department and the Westmoreland County Region 13 Department of Public Safety for their assistance with the investigation.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2667. Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2640.