Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Jury Finds Pierre Man Guilty of 7 Felony Counts Related to Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child, Interstate Travel With Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct, and Child Pornography Charges

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Amin Ricker, age 32, of Pierre, South Dakota, was found guilty of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child, one count of Travel With Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct, and four counts related to Transporting, Distributing, Receiving, and Possessing Child Pornography following a five-day jury trial in Pierre, South Dakota.  The verdict was returned on March 22, 2019.

The charges carry a mandatory minimum of thirty years up to life in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 5 years up to life of supervised release, and $700 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.

“Thanks to the joint efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, this vicious child sex predator is going to be locked up for a very long time,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons.

Ricker was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 12, 2017.

In February 2017, the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Pierre Police Department began investigating Ricker based on reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that indicated Ricker was actively sharing and receiving child pornography via social media.  On February 14, 2017, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Ricker’s residence in Pierre, seizing multiple electronic devices, including mobile phones, laptop computers, and thumb drives.

Analysis of Ricker’s electronic devices revealed thousands of images and videos of child pornography.  Airline, bank, and electronic records corroborated live testimony that Ricker traveled in 2014 and 2015 from Huron, South Dakota, to Texas and engaged in sexual acts with 7-year-old children living there, and he preserved videos and images of the acts, storing them in folders named after each of the children. Ricker later used electronic platforms to share child pornography, including images involving the victims.  Law enforcement analyzed social media accounts including Instagram, Kik, Yahoo, and Facebook, as well as Dropbox, which led them to Ricker’s Pierre residence.  In mid-2015, Ricker, who was employed as a locomotive conductor, transferred from Huron to Pierre.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Huron Police Department, Pierre Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Ranger Division, and the Bogata (TX) Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk Albertson and Cameron Cook prosecuted the case.  

A sentencing date has not been set.  Ricker was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.

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