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NMSP officer, NMAA official arrested for child pornography

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ALBUQUERQUE – A former New Mexico State Police (NMSP) officer and high school basketball official from Carlsbad has been arrested on child pornography charges.

Alexander M.M. Uballez, U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced Tuesday that Sammy Allen Clouthier, 44, of Carlsbad, made an initial appearance in federal court on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography and transportation of child pornography.

According to the criminal complaint, on April 18, the FBI was made aware of a tip provided to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on Dec. 29, 2022, by cloud service provider Synchronoss Technologies Inc. Synchronoss provides content storage for the wireless communication service provider Verizon.

Synchronoss reported images depicting apparent child sexual abuse material (CSAM) were uploaded to an account associated with Clouthier’s phone number and device. Follow-up investigation revealed that Clouthier, a sergeant with the NMSP and a high school basketball referee affiliated with the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA), downloaded, possessed and transported child pornography using his cellular devices.

Verizon responded to a subpoena this month, stating Clouthier’s account was associated with two flip phones containing approximately 34 photos of child sexual abuse. According to the criminal complaint, Clouthier was interviewed July 20 by the FBI and admitted to having downloaded and viewed illegal images of young girls for some time.

A criminal complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Clothier faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison.

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