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Grand Island man pleads guilty to child pornography charge

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Anthony Weber, 36, of Grand Island, NY, pleaded guilty to attempted receipt of child pornography, before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The charge carries a minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Cantil, who is handling the case, stated that on April 9, 2017, the defendant engaged in a online conversation with Victim 1, a 15 year old female. On April 12, 2017, Weber invited Victim 1 to a bonfire, stating they would drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. Victim 1 responded, “Im 15.”
On August 10, 2017, the defendant again engaged in an online conversation with Victim 1, offering to provide cocaine to Victim 1 in exchange for sexual intercourse. Victim 1 agreed to consider having sex with Weber in exchange for cocaine. The defendant then requested that Victim 1 send him sexually explicit pictures.
Victim 1 subsequently reported this incident to the City of Tonawanda Police Department. After the incident was reported, the Federal Bureau of Investigation assumed Victim 1’s online identity and continued to engage in online conversations with the defendant. On October 11, 2017, Weber agreed to meet the person he believed was a minor female to engage in sexual activity. The defendant arrived at a retail store parking lot believing he was going to meet and have sexual intercourse with the minor.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the City of Tonawanda Police Deparment, under the direction of Chief William Strassburg, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert, and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 14, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Wolford.