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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Tri-Citian sent to prison for making child porn at home. He was extradited from Kazakhstan

By Cameron Probert Tri-City Herald

WEST RICHLAND, Wash. – A West Richland man, who tried to escape child pornography charges by hiding in Kazakhstan, is heading to prison.

Trent Drexel Howard, 50, hid cameras in his bathrooms and bedrooms and filmed at least 14 different minor victims between 2008 and 2016, according to court records. The children were in various states of undressing.

The FBI-led investigation involved the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and detectives from Richland, Kennewick and Moses Lake police departments.

The federal investigation started after Howard sent 168 files with suspected child pornography to an undercover agent using a public file-sharing network.

That triggered a search warrant where investigators found the hidden camera footage, and more than 100 electronic devices.

At the time federal agents were serving the warrant, Howard was working in Kazakhstan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He tried to escape the charges by staying in the central Asian country, but Kazakh authorities arrested him in September 2019.

He was detained pending an extradition request from the United States. Howard’s extradition was the first to the U.S. from Kazakhstan, according to the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

Howard pleaded guilty on Sept. 23 to attempted production of child pornography. He was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison.

“For more than a decade, Mr. Howard victimized numerous minors and possessed tens of thousands of child exploitation materials,” Donald M. Voiret, special agent in charge at the FBI Seattle Field Office, said in a news release. “This case demonstrates that no matter where in the world our subjects may be the FBI will stop at nothing to hold child predators accountable.”

Vanessa R. Waldref, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, praised the efforts of local and federal agencies that brought about the sentence.

“This case makes it clear that those who exploit children in our community will be held accountable, even if they try to hide in a foreign country or avoid extradition to the United States,” Waldref said in the release.

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