Federal Indictment Charges Charlotte Man Bryan Lee Ragon With Sex Trafficking A Minor And Child Pornography

(STL.News) – A bill of indictment was unsealed in federal court today, charging Bryan Lee Ragon, 43, of Charlotte, with sex trafficking of a minor, production of child pornography, transportation of a minor, and receipt of child pornography, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  The indictment was returned by a grand jury sitting in Charlotte on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, and was unsealed following Ragon’s arrest this morning.

Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charlotte, and Robert Schurmeier, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

The criminal indictment charges Ragon with allegedly sex trafficking a minor in the Western District of North Carolina, Wisconsin, and elsewhere, from December 16, 2015, to December 31, 2015.  The indictment also alleges that in December 2015, Ragon knowingly produced a visual depiction of the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and that he knowingly transported the minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity.  The indictment further alleges that, in December 2015, Ragon received material containing child pornography.

Ragon had his initial appearance in federal court in Charlotte before U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler and remains in federal custody.  Ragon’s next court hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 25, 2020, at 11:35 a.m.

The sex trafficking of a minor charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.  The production of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison.  The transportation of a minor charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.  The receipt of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray commended HSI and SBI for their investigation of this case, which led to the federal charges, and thanked the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for their assistance with Ragon’s arrest today. U.S. Attorney Murray also thanked the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation for their invaluable assistance and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin for their continued cooperation and coordination.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Wasserman, of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Charlotte, is handling the prosecution.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

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