Buena Vista Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Distributing Explicit Images of Minors

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that an Atlantic County man was sentenced to state prison today for using a file-sharing network to distribute Explicit Images of Minors online.

Officials say, Craig C. Covell, 55, of Buena Vista, N.J., was sentenced to five years in state prison, including 2 ½ years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Donna M. Taylor in Atlantic County.

According to officials, Covell pleaded guilty on July 11 to a second-degree charge of distribution of Explicit Images of Minors (storing or maintaining child pornography in a file-sharing program). He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.

In pleading guilty, Covell admitted that he knowingly used file-sharing software to make multiple files of Explicit Images of Minors readily available for any other user to download from a “shared folder” on his computer, according to officials.

Deputy Attorney General Supriya Prasad prosecuted Covell and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau. Deputy Attorney General Rachael Weeks took the guilty plea. Covell was arrested last year in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task (ICAC) Force, and Division of Criminal Justice.

During the investigation, detectives of the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU) were monitoring an online file-sharing network that is popular with offenders who download and trade child pornography when they identified a computer address that was sharing Explicit Images of Minors.

Detectives successfully downloaded numerous videos of Explicit Images of Minors being shared from that IP address, which was traced to the house where Covell was living in Buena Vista.

Officials say on Oct. 19, detectives of the DTIU executed a search warrant at the house with assistance from the New Jersey State Parole Board and State Police TEAMS South Unit, K-9 South Unit, and Buena Criminal Investigations Office.

Detectives seized multiple computers and hard drives used by Covell from the basement of the house.

Forensic examinations conducted at the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Hamilton, Mercer County, revealed over 100 videos and images of Explicit Images of Minors on those computer devices.