Conway man with history of child porn crimes in Florida pleads guilty to Arkansas charges

Great Seal of Arkansas in a court room in Washington County. Thursday, June 21, 2018,
Great Seal of Arkansas in a court room in Washington County. Thursday, June 21, 2018,

A Florida man who served more than 11 years in prison there for possession of child pornography and then relocated to Faulkner County is facing between 10 and 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Friday in federal court to possession of child pornography in Arkansas.

Joshua Lee Riggs, 43, of Conway was charged in February 2022 in a federal criminal complaint with possession and distribution of child pornography and in March 2022, a federal grand jury in Little Rock indicted him on three counts of distribution and one count of possession of child pornography. On Friday, Riggs, who is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Molly Sullivan, pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of child pornography before Chief U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker as part of a plea agreement with Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin Bryant that dismissed the three distribution counts against him, each of which could have exposed him to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by the FBI, on Feb. 20, 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a Cybertipline report from MediaLab/Kik regarding 16 files containing apparent child pornography that had been shared by a Kik messaging app user with other users. Further investigation led authorities to two businesses in Conway connected by a username that was traced to Riggs. Further investigation into the username, the affidavit said, turned up an additional 174 videos and 106 images of child sexual abuse material.

On Jan. 28, 2022, the affidavit said, the FBI searched Riggs' Conway home and seized a tablet, two laptop computers, four flash drives, two cellphones, a hard drive and a computer, some of which were later found to contain images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In addition, a computer in a spare bedroom was discovered that had two images of naked children and was equipped with a secure data removal tool designed to remove sensitive data from computer hard drives. The affidavit said that Riggs' girlfriend told the FBI that she did not know Riggs was looking at child pornography but told agents she knew he was a level three sex offender and had issues with attraction to children.

According to records from Florida, Riggs pleaded guilty in November 2005 in Bay County, Fla., to five counts of possession of child pornography and one count each of attempted lewd and lascivious conduct and interference with custody and was sentenced to five concurrent five-year prison terms and two consecutive five-year prison terms for a total of 15 years.

According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Riggs entered prison in Florida on Dec. 21, 2005, and was released on Dec. 26, 2016, after serving 11 years. Records showed he was returned to prison in Florida on Feb. 15, 2017, and was released 18 months later on Aug. 19, 2018. After serving an additional four months in 2018 and 19 days in 2019, he was released on Feb. 10, 2019, after which he left the state and moved to Arkansas. A public notice dated Feb. 12, 2019, from the Faulkner County sheriff's office in Conway under the Sex and Child Offender Registration Act indicated that Riggs had moved to Greenbrier.

Riggs will be sentenced later this year after completion of a presentence report by the U.S. Probation Office, a process that normally takes between 60 and 90 days. He was remanded back into the custody of U.S marshals to await sentencing.

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