By Ashley Cox

PENSACOLA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– Michael J. McClure, 44, of DeFuniak Springs, and Jeffrey W. Boone, Jr., 32, of Shalimar, pled guilty this past week to federal charges related to the production and distribution of child pornography, announced Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. Though the two cases are similar in nature, the federal indictments were independently handed down by a grand jury in Pensacola earlier this year.

In McClure’s case, an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation witnessed McClure distributing images of child pornography online to a group of like-minded individuals on the social media platform Kik Messenger. McClure was personally producing child pornography of a minor who was less than ten years old. During his guilty plea, McClure admitted to engaging in a child exploitation enterprise with others on Kik Messenger who were working together to victimize multiple minors across the country. McClure was engaged in such activity during 2020 to 2021.

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“There is no greater charge than the protection of our children,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Coody. “Acts of such depravity are horrific and will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. Our law enforcement partners are to be commended for the swift, collaborative efforts, which resulted in the rescue of these children.”

In Boone’s case, another undercover agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation witnessed Boone distributing images of child pornography that he was creating in real time and distributing to others online. His victim was also less than ten years of age. Law enforcement was able to immediately identify Boone and execute a search warrant on his residence to stop the illegal activity. Boone was also using Kik Messenger to engage in such crimes during 2021.

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“These cases represent the FBI’s relentless pursuit of those who seek to exploit the most innocent members of our community,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “Together with our law enforcement partners, we will never waver in our efforts to protect our children from harm.”

Both McClure and Boone are scheduled to be sentenced in January 2022. McClure faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ up to life imprisonment, and Boone faces a mandatory minimum 15 years’ up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

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These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David L. Goldberg, Jennifer H. Callahan, and Amanda Gordon.