Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a Mercer County man was arrested for allegedly using a file-sharing network to share images and videos of explicit images of minors on the Internet.
Peifeng Meng, 43, of Pennington, was arrested at his home yesterday morning by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, who executed a search warrant.
He was charged with second-degree distribution of 25 or more computer files of explicit images of minors and third-degree possession of 100 or more files of explicit images of minors.
During execution of the search warrant, Meng allegedly attempted to grab the handgun of one of the state detectives, but he was stopped from taking the gun and subdued. Two state detectives suffered minor injuries in the scuffle. The detectives were treated at a local hospital and released. Meng was charged with second-degree attempt to disarm a law enforcement officer and two counts of third-degree aggravated assault on an officer as a result of that incident. Meng was lodged in the Mercer County Jail with bail set at $100,000, full cash only.
Meng was arrested as the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, Cyber Crimes Unit. A detective in the Cyber Crimes Unit was conducting an online investigation on a peer-to-peer file sharing network that is popular with explicit images of minors offenders when she identified a computer address that was being used to download and share explicit images of minors.
The detective successfully downloaded more than 140 computer files of explicit images of minors that allegedly were being shared from that IP address. Detectives traced the computer address to Meng’s home in Pennington.
During execution of the search warrant at Meng’s house, detectives allegedly found explicit images of minors during a preliminary examination of his smart phone. Computers and other electronic devices were seized and taken to the Division of Criminal Justice Computer Forensic Laboratory in Hamilton for a full forensic examination. The Hopewell Township Police and ICE Homeland Security Investigations assisted in the execution of the search warrant. The Mercer County Special Victims Unit also assisted in the operation.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Under New Jersey’s new explicit images of minors statute, there is a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of five years for distribution of 25 or more computer files of explicit images of minors. In addition, possession of 100 or more files of explicit images of minors carries a presumption that the defendant will face a state prison term of between three and five years, even if the defendant has no prior felony conviction.
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig urged anyone with information about the online distribution of explicit images of minors – or about suspected improper contact by persons communicating with children on the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline: 888-648-6007.