A 56-year-old Big Island man was arraigned Thursday afternoon in federal court after being arrested Wednesday night for production and distribution of child pornography, the FBI reported.
John Tucker of Pahoa was identified through tips from the public after the FBI on Tuesday sought help in identifying a man depicted in sexual acts with children in photographs that surfaced on the Internet.
FBI special agents arrested Tucker at 9:40 p.m. without incident on the Big Island, according to the FBI.
Public helps FBI ID Big Island man
According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court by FBI Special Agent Ethan Cumming, the federal investigation was initiated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which had received several digital images of a man engaged in a sex act with two minors.
The images appeared to be taken in a residence, Cumming said, and, in the background of one picture, a copy of a 2008-09 Big Island Hawaiian Telcom telephone book could be seen.
Within hours of the public release of a photo of the suspect on Tuesday, several callers to the FBI identified the man as Tucker, the agent said.
Cumming said he learned that Tucker resided in and operated a bed-and-breakfast business in Pahoa. The agents went to the Pahoa residence where they found a 10-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl who appeared to be the children in the child pornography photos.
The children identified themselves in the pictures and said the man they were with was Tucker, Cumming said. They said the acts depicted were at Tucker's house.
On Wednesday, agents obtained and executed a search warrant of Tucker's residence where they found a computer with child pornography images, including at least one with the children that had been found at the residence, Cumming said.
The criminal complaint against Tucker contains two counts - one for engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a minor to produce visual depictions of it, and one for possessing a computer with images of child pornography.
Tucker is due back in federal court on Oct. 26 for a preliminary hearing. He is being held at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.
The government asked the judge to keep Tucker in custody because of the nature of the charges, the danger Tucker presents to the community and because he's a flight risk, Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong said.
Tucker's attorney, Brian DeLima, said he agrees with an FBI statement that suspects are innocent until proven guilty. He declined further comment.