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Stolen email probe led to kiddie porn charges

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The arrest of an Albuquerque political consultant on child pornography charges stemmed from a search warrant served on his home in November by FBI agents looking for evidence in the investigation of the alleged theft of Gov. Susana Martinez’s campaign emails.

The home of Jason Loera, 44, in the 6200 block of St. Joseph’s Court NW, initially was searched on the morning of Nov. 20, 2012, by agents looking to seize Loera’s computers so they could be searched for information about hundreds of emails to Susana2010.com that federal prosecutors allege were illegally intercepted.

FBI computer experts began examining CDs seized along with computers for information about the email theft when they came across explicit examples of child pornography.

Based on what they saw, agents then sought a second search warrant, unsealed Tuesday, to examine the computers, CDs and other material for evidence that Loera had downloaded child pornography.

According to that affidavit, agents sought the second search warrant after they saw downloaded photographs of a girl 6 to 12 years old having sex with an adult male and a photo of two boys between the ages of 6 and 12 having sex.

Loera has been a paid political consultant in New Mexico for the last decade, working on behalf of unions, Democratic Party candidates and progressive organizations, including Grassroots New Mexico PAC.

Other records show Loera was working for Grassroots New Mexico up until the fall of 2012. The political organization has been associated with current state Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman.

Bregman, before he was chairman, wrote an opinion article in 2012 on behalf of the organization, listing Loera as the media contact. Bregman did not respond to telephone messages and emails on Tuesday asking for comment.

According to an agenda for a Dec. 5, 2012, meeting of the Progressive Voter Alliance, Loera was scheduled to explain the 505 Majority movement that supported a successful Albuquerque City Charter amendment that requires candidates for mayor and City Council to face a runoff election when no candidate initially receives 50 percent of the vote. He was representing the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO at the meeting.

Jon Hendry, president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, ALF-CIO, said Loera’s paid work with the union group was limited to collecting petition signatures from October to December 2012.

“I had to go back into the record to even remember the guy,” Hendry said.

He said Loera was one of 60 people hired to collect nearly 25,000 ballot petition signatures.

Loera was arrested in Los Angeles on Friday on two counts of receiving visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one count of possessing the material. He was released on $20,000 bail, with electronic monitoring.

Specifics on Loera’s possible role in the email theft are unclear, because the search warrant dealing with the email investigation — under which his computer was originally seized — has not been unsealed by a federal judge.

No charges have been filed against Loera in connection with the email investigation.

His arrest on the child pornography charges came after Republican Party insider Jamie Estrada was indicted on charges that he hijacked a Martinez campaign website and intercepted hundreds of emails in 2011 and 2012 by directing the emails to a website Estrada controlled.

Estrada, 40, was charged with 12 counts of illegally intercepting communications sent to Susana2010. com, the Martinez campaign website domain, and two counts of lying to FBI agents. Each count carries a potential penalty of five years in prison.

Three search warrants involving the Estrada case were unsealed Tuesday involving searches made last September of a Los Lunas residence and Las Cruces residence that Estrada maintained. They included a search warrant for two email addresses registered by Estrada.

Those search warrant affidavits detail how FBI agents tracked computer registrations and computer addresses to link the allegedly stolen Susana2010.com emails to Estrada.

One of the search warrants was served on Google, and asks for the email accounts of jestrada@gmail.com and omarravenhurst@gmail.com.

The affidavit points out Omar Ravenhurst was a fictitious name used by California writer Kerry Wendell Thornley.

According to the affidavit, the FBI believes the omarravenhurst email belonged to Estrada. That email address was used to send an email intercepted from the Susana2010 account.

The intercepted email was introduced in the personnel board hearing of Larry Flynn, a fired Corrections Department employee, by his attorney, Sam Bregman.

Bregman has not responded to Journal telephone messages about the email.

Estrada’s attorney, Zack Ives, said in a statement that Estrada has broken no laws or done anything improper. Estrada is scheduled to be arraigned June 13.

Journal staff writer Jim Monteleone contributed to this report.

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