Kentucky man gets 20 years in prison after investigators find child porn, bombs, guns

A Frankfort man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after admitting to having child porn and being a felon in possession of guns and explosives.

Joshua James Moore, 45, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Gregory VanTatenhove. He admitted to downloading as many as 15 videos and 20 photos of child pornography on his computer, according to court records. He also admitted to having two functioning pipe bombs and three firearms.

Law enforcement began investigating Moore in July 2019 after an unnamed friend of Moore’s allegedly contacted a detective at the Franklin County sheriff’s office. The friend told the detective that he and Moore were in a “taboo” group, which used meth, watched porn and engaged in sex acts, according to an affidavit filed in federal court by an ATF agent.

The investigation eventually involved several law enforcement agencies: the ATF, the Kentucky attorney general’s office, the Franklin County sheriff’s office and the Lexington Police Department.

The friend told investigators that Moore gave him a flash drive with videos and suggested that his friend watch it, according to the affidavit. The friend eventually opened the files on the flash drive and found videos of Moore performing sex acts. He was “disturbed” enough that he contacted law enforcement.

The friend gave the flash drive to law enforcement and it was turned over to the state attorney general’s office. Detectives in the attorney general’s office reviewed the flash drive and found “numerous” images and videos that showed child sexual exploitation, according to the affidavit. Some of the children were estimated to be toddlers, according to the affidavit.

That same month, law enforcement executed multiple search warrants on Moore’s Frankfort home. They allegedly seized data storage devices, laptops and a “life-like child sex doll.” The data storage devices had child porn on them, according to the affidavit.

Moore was indicted in February on 124 counts of distributing or possessing child pornography, according to court records. He was arrested and additional “electronic evidence” was recovered.

Investigators interviewed another unnamed witness in the case, who said Moore had meth labs and materials to make bombs on his property, according to court records. The witness said Moore was experimenting with bombs in preparation to blow up a barn owned by the unnamed friend who first tipped law enforcement off to Moore’s child porn collection.

Investigators conducted another search warrant on Moore’s property and found a pipe bomb in his vehicle, according to the affidavit.

Moore made a call to his father while in jail and claimed that the explosive wasn’t a pipe bomb but was instead for tree stump removal, according to court records.

“The Lexington Police Department’s Bomb Squad responded to the property and dismantled the device,” an investigator wrote in the affidavit. “Bomb Squad units advised that the pipe bomb contained shrapnel, gunpowder, and other materials. They added that all it lacked to detonate was a power source. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office collected the remnants of this device.”

Investigators also found guns while searching Moore’s property.

Moore was previously convicted in January 2018 for cultivating marijuana and possessing meth, according to prosecutors.

Moore pleaded guilty to his new federal charges in May this year. He’ll have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence under federal law, which would be 17 years. He’ll also be on probation for the rest of his life after he’s released, according to prosecutors.

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