Dylan LaPlant of Browning, who admitted using his phone to access and distribute child pornography from his dorm room at the University of Montana, was sentenced in federal court in Great Falls on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris sentenced LaPlant, 22 years old, to five years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. LaPlant was also ordered to pay $18,000 restitution, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said in a news release.
LaPlant pleaded guilty in June to distribution of child pornography and receipt of child pornography.
The investigation began in March 2018 when an FBI agent in New York notified an FBI agent in Montana that during an ongoing child porn investigation, agents discovered an instant messenger application account in Montana that was linked to the receipt and distribution of numerous child pornography images.
The investigation identified LaPlant as a participant in group chat sessions and a chat member who sent multiple links to images and videos of child pornography to other group members.
When questioned by FBI agents in April 2018, LaPlant admitted he had been a student at the University of Montana, and while in his dorm room, he would access the internet with his smart phone. He admitted accessing group accounts that contained messages and links to child pornography and that he used his phone to view the material and forward links to other group users.
FBI agents served a search warrant on LaPlant’s home in Browning and seized electronic devices that were found to contain more than 500 images and videos of child pornography.