Ponchatoula man pleads guilty to possession of child sexual abuse material
Published 7:24 am Wednesday, May 11, 2022
NEW ORLEANS, LA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that JACOB WIEBELT (“WIEBELT”), age 39, of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, pled guilty today to a one-count bill of information for Possession of Materials Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Children, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2252(a)(4)(B) and (B)(2).
According to documents filed in federal court, the case against WIEBELT developed as a result of a lead to the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation (“LBI”) that a user uploaded child sexual abuse material (“CSAM”) to the “Discord” messenger service. Specifically, the lead reflected that the user uploaded sexually explicit videos of prepubescent children . On November 1, 2021, Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) special agents along with the LBI executed a federal search warrant at WIEBELT’s home in Ponchatoula during which time WIEBELT confessed to possessing, sharing, and uploading CSAM. WIEBELT further admitted he created a Discord account and stated that other Discord users would share CSAM on the website and that he would save the CSAM to his cellular telephone. WIEBELT would then upload the saved CSAM from his phone to other Discord users.
WIEBELT faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten (10) years and a maximum sentence of twenty (20) years imprisonment, and/or a fine of up to $250,000.00, or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person of the offense under Title 18, United States Code, Section 3571. In addition, WIEBELT faces a term of supervised release of no less than five (5) years and up to life after his release from prison and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee. WIEBELT was previously convicted in 2011 for Receipt of Child Pornography and sentenced to five (5) years in federal prison. WIEBELT was on supervised release when he committed this new offense.
Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for August 9, 2022 before United States District Judge Jay C. Zainey.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit.