Charleston-based Coast Guardsman involved in child pornography investigation

Charleston-based Coast Guardsman involved in child pornography investigation
A Coast Guardsman who lives in Charleston is involved in a child pornography investigation being conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, according to federal court documents filed Monday in Charleston. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Coast Guardsman who lives in Charleston is involved in a child pornography investigation being conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, according to federal court documents filed Monday in Charleston.

A special agent with DHS searched Omar Suarez’s apartment on the Naval Weapons Station in North Charleston on June 27 and took an iPhone as well as a MacBook computer, according to a search warrant.

According to the probable cause statement in the search warrant, Suarez is an active-duty Coast Guard member.

“The Coast Guard is aware of the investigation in regards to the Coast Guard member stationed in Charleston, SC," Lt. Phillip H. WanderWeit said in a statement. “Homeland Security Investigations is in the process of gathering information and investigating the matter. The alleged conduct is not reflective of the Coast Guard’s core values.”

The agent who searched the house found that someone uploaded an image of suspected child pornography on the Kik messaging app, and that a Cyber Tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children stated that a registered Dropbox subscriber had uploaded multiple videos of suspected child pornography, according to the search warrant.

Using a trace of IP addresses provided by Verizon Wireless, the agent found that the phone which accessed the Kik messenger account belonged to Suarez, the warrant stated.

The agent also met with officials from the Coast Guard Investigative service who provided personnel information on Suarez. According to the warrant, Suarez’s file included an email address which was the same email associated with the Dropbox and Kik accounts that allegedly contained pornographic videos involving children.

“Seaman Omar Suarez remains in his current position conducting his assigned duties," Lt. Vanderweit said. "The case remains under investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Coast Guard is fully cooperating with HSI officials.”

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