According to filed court documents and Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, beginning in May 2021, an undercover agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) observed that Kik Messenger user “thatguy246011,” later identified as Nunez, was participating in private group chats dedicated to the distribution of child pornography. On multiple occasions, Nunez also used Kik Messenger to post images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children.
Court documents show that the undercover agent made contact with Nunez via Kik Messenger. Over the course of the exchanges, Nunez expressed his interest in viewing and trading child pornography and sent the undercover agent child pornography. In July 2021, HSI also received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children concerning the same Kik messenger username, indicating that the user had uploaded 30 files through the app, most of which depicted child pornography.
On August 31, 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Nunez’s residence. Over the course of the search, law enforcement seized Nunez’s cell phone. A forensic analysis of the phone’s contents identified at least 154 images and 18 videos of child pornography on the device. Court records indicate that investigators also spoke with Nunez at his residence. In a voluntary interview, Nunez admitted that he used Kik Messenger to transport child pornography. Nunez also admitted that he set up a new account on the app and used it to transport child pornography after his old one was shut down.
On October 7, 2022, Nunez pleaded guilty to transporting child pornography. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. The case was investigated by HSI, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Boone Police Department.
Story: Rob Eastwood-WHKY