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Child porn investigation leads to arrest

Evidence seized roughly 11 months ago in a Medford child pornography investigation led to a second Southern Oregon arrest Tuesday morning.

Nathan Dale Wagner, 35, was arrested Tuesday on more than a dozen counts of encouraging child sexual abuse following a Special Weapons and Tactics arrest at his home in the 3200 block of Edella Avenue outside Central Point, according to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Mike Moran.

Moran said sheriff’s detectives began investigating Wagner after the March 27, 2019 arrest of Jeffery Andrew Ford, 55, of the 300 block of De Barr Avenue in Medford.

Investigators with the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force and U.S. Department of Homeland Security allegedly found evidence that images of at least one child being sexually abused on Ford’s electronic storage devices that had electronic ties to Wagner, but Moran wouldn’t elaborate further because the case is still under investigation.

Wagner was arrested Tuesday on 16 counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, Jackson County Jail records show. Under Oregon law, the charge of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse applies to cases where a person publishes, duplicates, disseminates or exchanges sexually explicit conduct — or in cases where a person knowingly copies images of child abuse.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Wagner was held in jail on $160,000 bail.

Ford was arrested at his west Medford home March 27, 2019, according to earlier news reports, after the Oregon Department of Justice Internet Crimes Against Children task force contacted sheriff’s detectives with evidence accusing Ford of sharing child pornography.

Ford has been out of jail since April 1, after he posted $5,000 bond on bail set at $50,000, Jackson County Circuit Court records show.

A search of Ford's home and his white Ford Crown Victoria sedan yielded multiple digital devices, including at least one USB flash drive, six Samsung Galaxy S smartphones, a Samsung Galaxy tablet, two memory cards, an orange iPod, an Amazon Kindle and an Acer laptop computer, according to documents filed Jan. 15 in court by Ford’s defense lawyer Christopher Missiaen.

The document does not say what digital evidence investigators yielded from the devices seized by Ford, but Missiaen sought to throw out any evidence seized from Ford’s home. Missiaen argued that the search warrant only allowed police to search what was on Ford’s person, not what was in his home.

Further, Missiaen called the seizure of all of Ford’s digital devices “constitutionally invalid” because it was overbroad. Instead of specifying the digital devices involved, the warrant “authorized the seizure of any and all digital devices in the residence.”

A hearing on Missiean’s motion to throw out the evidence in Ford’s case is scheduled for April 16. A trial in Ford’s case is set for May 5.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Nathan Dale Wagner