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Yancey Co. Man Is Sentenced To 20 Years For Producing Child Pornography

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Dena J. King announced today that Joshua Andrew Phillips, 33, of Burnsville, N.C., was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for producing child pornography. Upon his release from prison, Phillips will be subject to a lifetime of supervised release and must register as a sex offender.

Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina and South Carolina, and Sheriff Shane Hilliard of the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

On May 20, 2022, Phillips pleaded guilty to production of child pornography. According to filed documents and statements made in court, in February 2020, the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that an individual was using social media to share child pornography. Law enforcement identified Phillips as the person sharing the child pornography. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement retrieved Phillips’s cellular phones and computer. An HSI Computer Forensic Analyst conducted a forensic review of Phillips’s devices and located the child pornography images of the minors Phillips had produced. In addition, law enforcement also discovered on the defendant’s devices more than 8,400 images and videos that depicted children being sexually abused.

Phillips is in federal 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, U.S. Attorney King commended HSI and the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office for their joint investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Solheim, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the case.

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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