Marble Falls, Burnet, Kingsland, Llano, Spicewood, Horseshoe Bay, and ALL of the Highland Lakes
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Granite Shoals Police Detective Allen Miley next to his unmarked patrol vehicle. Miley is a trained cybercrime investigator tracking down criminals who exploit children online. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
Two men were recently arrested on child pornography charges in the Highland Lakes due in large part to the Granite Shoals Police Department’s dedication to tracking down cybercriminals who exploit children online.
“This crime, it’s such a prevalent thing,” Miley told DailyTrib.com. “These cybertips, there’s mountains of them that come in.”
Miley’s most recent busts included Robby Lyn Neugent, 55, of Granite Shoals, who was arrested on Aug. 25 on a third-degree felony charge of possession of child pornography, and Brian James Youngquist, 67, of Burnet, arrested Sept. 12 on the same charge.
The tips the detective receives come from electronic service providers, which are required by law to track instances of child pornography and report them to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The NCMEC disseminates the information across the country based on the location of the potential crime.
The term “electronic service provider” is broad and includes internet providers such as Verizon and AT&T as well as social media platforms like Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). It can also mean any electronic platform, including file-sharing sites such as Dropbox, search engines and email providers like Google, and online chat rooms such as Omegle. All of them keep track of illicit images through powerful algorithms and submit the collected data to NCMEC on a regular basis.
Cybertips sent to Texas are received by the AG’s Office and then further investigated until a general location in the state can be determined, Miley said.
“If the AG determines that they believe (the cybercrime) is happening in Granite Shoals, Marble Falls, Kingsland, Burnet, or in this area, I get it,” he said.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received 32 million cybertips in 2022 for suspected online child sexual exploitation stemming from the possession of roughly 88.3 million illicit files.
“Unfortunately, child sexual abuse images and videos are often circulated and shared online repeatedly,” reads a 2022 NCMEC report. “(Child sexual abuse material) of a single child victim can be circulated for years after the initial abuse occurred. One of the CyberTipline’s critical functions is to identify unique images through the work of analysts and the use of technology.”
Electronic service providers keep track of specific data attached to known illicit images and videos, which is then used to generate a cybertip. Once Miley receives a report from the AG’s Office, he uses that same data to track down the end user and collect evidence for an arrest.
“People might think they’re getting away with it, but one day someone is going to come and knock on their door,” Miley said. “I think one of the biggest things people don’t realize is that there’s someone here (in the Highland Lakes) working on it actively.”
If you believe you have information regarding the online exploitation of children, submit a tip through the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children’s CyberTipline portal or call your local law enforcement agency.