MISSOULA - A California man admitted to receiving child pornography of a minor girl he befriended while living in Missoula on Friday, May 5, 2023.
U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich says Bobby Manuel Argo, 23, pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography.
Argo faces a mandatory minimum of five years to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.
Federal prosecutors alleged in court documents that between 2021 and early 2022, Argo was living in Missoula and befriended Jane Doe 1, a girl who was under the age of 18. Jane Doe 1 confided in Argo that someone online was coercing her to send sexually explicit images of herself.
Argo offered to help Jane Doe 1 and asked her to get him in touch with her extortioner. But instead of helping, the government said Argo messaged the perpetrator separately and offered to assist him in further extorting Jane Doe 1 for explicit images of herself and others.
Law enforcement identified the perpetrator in January 2022, during a search of his social media account, learned he had been communicating with Argo about Jane Doe 1 and sharing explicit images of her with Argo.
Law enforcement executed search warrants of Argo’s social media account, his residence in California and his cell phone and found a video of Jane Doe 1 engaged in sexually explicit content that he had received through the internet while he was still in Missoula.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided with sentencing set for Sept. 13, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin D. Hargrove is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Missoula Police Department.