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Talent child porn suspect arrested in Montana

A man with ties to Southern Oregon was arrested in Montana for allegedly uploading child pornography files from an unsecured Wi-Fi connection in Talent earlier this year.

David Levi Watters, 29, was arrested at his home in Dillon, Montana, on a Jackson County warrant Wednesday following an investigation that spanned several weeks and involved five Oregon law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Montana Department of Justice, according to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Moran.

The warrant accused Watters, also known by the name Levi Watters, of uploading recordings of a child involved in sexually explicit conduct between Jan. 19 and Jan. 30, according to a grand jury indictment filed last month in Jackson County Circuit Court.

On April 15, the nonprofit National Center for Missing and Exploited Children alerted the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office of child pornography uploaded in the 400 block of West Valley View Road in Talent.

Moran said the sheriff’s office worked for several weeks with officers from Talent and Medford police, Albany police, the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force and federal investigators.

Moran said Watters accessed the internet from an “unsecured private account,” and said the case is a reminder for residents to lock down their Wi-Fi routers.

“If your internet pops up as the one being utilized ... you’re gonna be contacted and interviewed,” Moran said.

After questioning the account holder, Moran said detectives found evidence linking the child pornography to Watters.

A grand jury charged Watters Sept. 22 with eight counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, a Class B felony under Oregon law. The next day, Judge Lisa Greif issued a nationwide warrant for Watters’ arrest.

Detectives working the case were aware Watters had left the state, and to track him down, the sheriff’s office worked with Montana law enforcement agencies that included the Montana Department of Justice Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office and the Dillon, Montana, police department.

At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Watters was arrested at his home in Dillon. He was being held in the Beaverhead County Jail on $80,000 bail awaiting extradition back to Oregon.

Moran asked anyone with additional information about the case to call Det. Steve Bohn with the sheriff’s office at 541-774-6800 and reference JCSO case No. 20-7216.

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

David Levi Watters, 29, was arrested in Dillon, Montana on a Jackson County warrant charging him with eight counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse. Beaverhead County, Montana Sheriff's Office photo.