Monday, August 31, 2020

Houstonian on state bond ordered into federal custody

A 20-year-old man has made an appearance in federal court and ordered detained on charges relating to sexual exploitation of a child, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment against Javon Opoku Aug. 19. Authorities took him into custody Aug. 24.

Today, he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew M. Edison who found Opoku was a danger to the community and ordered him detained pending further criminal proceedings.

The court heard that Opoku had been pulled over for a traffic violation in February. According to testimony, Opoku was on a bond for capital murder, evading arrest and unlawful carrying of a weapon charges at the time of the stop. Law enforcement seized his cellphone and took him into custody. He was later released again on bond.

According to testimony today, Opoku had been on bond for eight different charges that stemmed from alleged activities on four different dates.

At the hearing, the court also heard that law enforcement conducted a search of his seized phone and discovered three videos that appeared to be child pornography. The videos all allegedly depict Opoku vaginally penetrating a 16-year-old female.

Common conditions of bond generally include that individuals not possess weapons, refrain from narcotics and not commit new offenses, according to testimony. The court heard Opoku had done some or all of this while out on his previous bond.

If convicted, Opoku faces a minimum of 15 and up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine as well as restitution.  

The FBI and Houston Police Department conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ann Leo is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood - a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.