Fayetteville, Arkansas – David Clay Fowlkes, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas and Gilbert Trill, Acting Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New Orleans, announced today that Aaron Gatewood, age 32, of Elkins, Arkansas, was sentenced yesterday to 405 months in federal prison without the possibility of parole followed by lifetime supervised release on two counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor by Production of Child Pornography. The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks, United States District Judge, presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.
According to court records, on or about September 24, 2019, Gatewood was arrested on state charges pursuant to an undercover operation being conducted in the Western District of Arkansas, Homeland Security Investigations Fayetteville, and the Northwest Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce. According to court records, Gatewood arranged to meet with the undercover officer in order to have sexual contact with a minor. Subsequent to his arrest, a search of Gatewood’s cell phone resulted in law enforcement discovering child pornography that had been produced by Gatewood. A follow up investigation determined that Gatewood video recorded himself sexually abusing a 7-year-old female on two different occasions.
“This case is a great example of some of the most important work that we do in the Western District of Arkansas,” said First Assistant Fowlkes. “The work of protecting our communities from child predators, from child pornographers, and from other criminals who seek to abuse children is one of our top priorities. We are proud to work with our state and local partners at the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in this effort. The officers and agents on the task force work hard every day to build cases like this one and help protect our communities from child predators. They should be commended for their hard work on this case and the many others like it that the task force has developed.”
“Our special agents are committed to protecting innocent children and our communities from the scourge of child predators. Combining HSI efforts with our law enforcement partners enables us to increase capabilities, save lives, and prevent future atrocities,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Gilbert Trill. “We hope the lengthy prison sentence provides an opportunity for healing for the victims and their families.”
Gatewood was indicted in January of 2020 and entered a guilty plea in April of 2020.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations Fayetteville, the Northwest Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the Benton County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Carly Marshall prosecuted the case for the United States.