Tyler man sold child porn over Facebook, confessed after year-long investigation

News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man has been charged and indicted for promotion of child pornography after confessing to police that he distributed it through his Facebook account, according to an arrest warrant obtained by KETK News.

Andrew Armstrong, 27, was investigated for more than a year by the Tyler Police Department on different occasions where they received tips that he was distributing child porn.

Facebook Tip

The first clue was received on April 30, 2018, when the Dallas PD’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force forwarded a tip from a Facebook representative that showed a conversation on Armstrong’s account back on January 20.

The conversation was with a user by the name of “Kodiak Johnson” and said the following:

Johnson: “Preteen?”
Armstrong: “Ok”
Johnson: “All I have.”

Armstrong then uploaded multiple images of child pornography, according to Tyler police. One of them included a girl, aged 8-12.

A Smith County Grand Jury issued a subpoena to Suddenlink to find out where the posts were coming from and it led them Brookhollow Apartments in Tyler. Detectives tried for months to get in contact with the residents of the apartment, but were never able to.

Second Tip

Months later, on New Year’s Eve, another tip came in that a child pornographic image was uploaded to a phone that was registered to Andrew Armstrong. This tip also included an email address that was linked to Armstrong.

Another subpoena was served to Suddenlink on March 12 and it was discovered that the account belonged to Enterprise Rental Cars in Tyler. However, Armstrong later confessed that he used a service that hid his real IP address so that he would not get caught.

Enterprise Rental Cars told police that he was not currently and had never been an employee of the company. Armstrong later said that he got a rental car from the company after a wreck but could not remember when.

Confession

On May 10, Armstrong was contacted by police and gave two separate interviews, one at his apartment in Brookhollow, and one at the Faulkner station.

From the beginning, Armstrong told detectives that he had a problem, but had gotten it under control. He stated that in just three days that he had an appointment at the Andrews Center in Tyler, where doctors treat kids, teens, and adults who have mental health or intellectual disabilities.

When asked about the Facebook interaction with Johnson, Armstrong said that he supplied Johnson with images after being in a “sharing group” with him. He believes Johnson turned him in to Facebook and that’s how the first tip came in.

He told investigators that his family had an intervention about his “child pornography addiction.” In fact, his parents and brother had reached out to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office about his addiction. He told police he had been viewing child porn for nearly seven years.

Armstrong told detectives that his addiction was a “simplistic need” but knew that it was “illegal and comes with consequences.” He denied that he ever sexually assaulted young girls.

Officials were also told by him that he used services that helped cover his tracks, such as a service that re-routed his IP address to help him not get caught. There were images and videos found on his person blue Acer Aspire laptop, which was confiscated during the first interview.

An examination of his cell phone found that Armstrong had made online searches about information for how child porn police investigations are run.

Armstrong is currently being held in the Smith County Jail on a $200,000 bond. He has no prior criminal history or arrests.

Armstrong has waived his right to be arraigned and his hearing for September 6 has been canceled, according to Smith County Judicial records.

He is next due to in court on October 9 at 1:30 p.m. in the 241st District Court. His trial is scheduled for October 14.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.