Craven County man sentenced to 10 years in prison for child pornography charges

Published 4:08 pm Monday, October 31, 2022

From U.S. Attorney Michael Easley / Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN, N.C. –– A Craven County man was sentenced today to 120 months imprisonment followed by 120 months of supervised release for possessing child pornography.  Melvin David Wetzel, III, 74, of Havelock, North Carolina pled guilty on March 9, 2022, to Possession of Child Pornography.  According to court documents and other information presented in court, officers with the Havelock Police Department were conducting a proactive investigation into the trading of child pornography on peer-to-peer networks.  Between July 16, 2020, and July 20, 2020, law enforcement was able to download 8 videos depicting child sexual abuse from a computer associated with Wetzel’s IP address.

Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Wetzel’s residence, and officers with the Havelock Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security executed the search warrant on July 29, 2020.  Wetzel was present at the time of the search and consented to law enforcement retrieving and examining his digital devices.  Wetzel admitted to using a file sharing program and searching for child pornography.  He told law enforcement he had been viewing child pornography since 2010. The search resulted in law enforcement finding multiple images and videos.  Wetzel had been previously convicted of Third-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in Pitt County in 2012.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. Havelock Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charity Wilson prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on our website. Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:21-CR-0003-FL.