A Westbrook man pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to distributing images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Tyler Garnett, 22, could face up to 20 years in prison and no less than five years for distributing images of child exploitation, U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank said in a news release.

Garnett used the social media application Kik Messenger to chat over the internet with another Kik user in July 2018, court records state. During the chat, Garnett sent several images that depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Later that year, the Westbrook Police Department was asked to investigate a CyberTip provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding child pornography that had been uploaded to another social networking service. The IP address belonged to Garnett’s home in Westbrook.

After being interviewed by police detectives in December 2018, Garnett consented to allow officers to search his cellphone, which was found to contain numerous images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He also admitted uploading the images that were the subject of the CyberTip, Frank said.

Garnett also could be fined $250,000 and face from five years to a lifetime of supervised release. He will be sentenced at a later date.

The Westbrook Police Department, the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit and the FBI investigated the case, which was brought forward by Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation.


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