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Former Salvation Army leader jailed pre-trial on federal child porn charges

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Javier Moreno

A former leader of the Salvation Army in the Black Hills will be jailed pre-trial as he faces federal child pornography charges after he was reported by a national child welfare group, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Dakota. 

Javier Moreno will be detained without the chance to post bond, a magistrate judge ordered during a detention hearing at the federal court in Rapid City on Friday. 

Moreno, a 40-year-old from Rapid City, has pleaded not guilty to one count of receiving child porn and one count of possessing it from Oct. 24, 2020, through Feb. 22, 2021.

He was originally charged in state court with possessing, creating or distributing child pornography but that case was dismissed May 25 due to the federal indictment, court records show. 

Moreno was indicted after law enforcement received a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to the news release.

Cybertips can be submitted to NCMEC by members of the public who discover someone with child porn or by websites that discover the material through workers or computer algorithms. NCMEC then forwards a report to law enforcement for further investigation, a local investigator previously explained to the Journal

The investigation into Moreno was conducted by federal, state and local agencies, according to the news release. Homeland Security Investigations, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Rapid City Police Department and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office all helped with the case. 

Jesse Fagerland, an investigator with the sheriff's office, testified at the detention hearing, according to court records. 

If convicted, Moreno will be sentenced to at least five years in prison and up to 20 years. He would also have to forfeit 46 electronic devices seized by law enforcement during a May 13 search of the Salvation Army's Black Hills Camp.

The Salvation Army, an international Christian charitable organization, says it fired Moreno and is cooperating with the investigation. Moreno was a captain and the Black Hills Area Coordinator with the group. He lives at the Salvation Army camp on Thunderhead Falls Road off West Highway 44, according to state court records.

Moreno will go to trial July 27 unless he reaches a plea deal by July 9. 

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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