A Kirkland resident was sentenced to ten years in prison and ten years of supervised release on March 13 in U.S. District Court in Seattle after being caught with images of children being raped and molested. The collection is believed to be one of the largest ever seized in Western Washington.
Derek M. Halverson, 53, was identified as part of an international crackdown on customers of a Toronto, Canada based film company, Azov Films. The company distributed child pornography under the guise of “nature films,” said Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes.
Halverson was an “affiliate partner” with the company. The Kirkland resident received commissions and discounts as a result of advertisements he knowingly posted on two websites he operated. At sentencing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour ordered $7,500 in restitution to victims who had filed with the court.
“This defendant profited financially from the sale and trade of images of children being sexually abused,” Hayes said. “His blog posts, ‘movie reviews,’ and other website postings promoted sexual interest in children putting more kids at risk in our communities.”
Law enforcement, led by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, served a search warrant on Halverson’s Kirkland home in March 2013, according to court documents.
Agents seized a large number of digital devices containing more than 50,000 images and 200 movies of children being sexually exploited.
Agents also recovered paperwork indicating Halverson received a commission from Azov Films for customers who purchased from the company after clicking on links posted on Halverson’s websites.
The international investigation dubbed “Project Spade” has resulted in 348 arrests worldwide. Three other defendants in Washington have been charged in connection with “Project Spade.”
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Cecilia Gregson and investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service. Gregson is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute child exploitation cases in federal court.