TUCSON – A former U.S. Marine was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in federal prison for producing child pornography while on active military duty, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Johnathan E. Dawkins, 22, of San Diego, was sentenced by U.S. District Chief Judge Raner C. Collins, who also ordered the defendant to register as a sex offender and be subject to a lifetime of supervised release.
According to court documents, Dawkins pleaded guilty Aug. 31, 2016, admitting that while visiting a relative in Tucson, he had taken sexually explicit photographs of a 6-year-old girl with his mobile phone in order to email the images to someone else.
“This lengthy sentence is gratifying for the HSI special agents who worked tirelessly to identify this child predator and bring him to justice,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “The sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime and, as this sentence makes clear, there are serious consequences for those engage in this kind of activity. HSI will continue to aggressively pursue those who victimize the most vulnerable members of our society, our children.”
The investigation was initiated in September 2015 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received two images from HSI special agents in San Angelo, Texas. The two photographs showed Dawkins pulling down the pants of a pre-pubescent child. Through investigative techniques, HSI special agents in Tucson were able to locate the home where the photographs were taken and identify the 6-year-old victim. Based on interviews with the victim’s family members, the defendant, who was then based at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, was identified as the suspect who produced the images.
On Dec. 16, 2015, HSI San Diego special agents collaborated with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to arrest Dawkins. The defendant was then extradited to Tucson to face the criminal charges, which ultimately resulted in his dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Marines Corps.
HSI Tucson received significant assistance with the case from the HSI offices in San Diego and San Angelo.
The NCMEC was also influential locally in the arrest of Maxwell Lockhart, 20, of Morenci on Feb. 8 on seven counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
Two of the counts involve Lockhart uploading a video to the Internet “in which a minor was engaged in exploitive exhibition or other sexual conduct.” The remaining five counts stem from Lockhart having an additional five images on his cell phone that contain “a minor child in a visual depiction in which the minor is engaged in exploitive exhibition or other sexual conduct.”
A search warrant was served by Greenlee County Sheriff’s deputies at Lockhart’s Morenci home, where he was arrested without incident. Several electronic devices were confiscated, including a desktop computer, iPods, flash drives and multiple videos and discs, according to Price’s report.
Lockhart allegedly admitted to emailing two videos to himself. The videos caught the attention of the NCMEC, which forwarded the information to the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office. Lockhart remains in jail on a $200,000 bond.