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BENTON COUNTY MAN ARRESTED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

LITTLE ROCK - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today that a Benton County man has been arrested on child pornography charges following an investigation by the Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Unit.

Benton County authorities arrested Joshua Ivan Howard, 38, of Bentonville on Wednesday. He is accused of 20 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.

"Our children are victimized every time someone takes part in this kind of criminal activity," McDaniel said. "Those that engage in the viewing or trading of child pornography should face the consequences of those actions, and our office will keep working with other law enforcement agencies across the state to ensure that happens."

Agents confiscated several computers, electronic storage devices and other electronic equipment when they executed a search warrant at Howard's residence, 2704 SW Tunica Court, in Bentonville, in July. The seized evidence was analyzed at the Cyber Crimes Unit Forensic Lab in Little Rock.

Investigators determined that Howard was in possession of more than 1,300 images of child pornography.

Special Agent Chad Meli began an investigation into Howard in June after suspecting that child pornography was being possessed at Howard's address.

Howard was being held at the Benton County Detention Center.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office and the Bentonville Police Department assisted in the investigation. The Attorney General's Office will turn over its completed case file to Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Van Stone.

Charges are merely accusations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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