Kennewick man sentenced to 5 years prison for attempted transfer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick man sentenced to 5 years prison for attempted transfer of obscene material to minor

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SPOKANE, WA – Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Donald Russell Tyke Wheeler, of Kennewick, Washington, was sentenced after previously having plead guilty on February 9, 2017, to attempted transfer of obscene materials to a minor. United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian sentenced Wheeler to a 5-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 3-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, in July of 2016, a detective with the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SER-ICAC) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) observed an ad on a well-known website seeking a female to “play”. The detective responded to the ad posing as a thirteen (13) year old minor female. During the course of communications with the minor, Wheeler described in graphic detail the manner in which he wished to have sexual intercourse with the purported child. He also sent multiple pictures of his genitalia to the purported child labeled with the purported child’s name. Wheeler made multiple attempts to meet the purported child to commit the described sexual acts in Kennewick, Washington.

In the fall of 2016, Wheeler was arrested upon arrival at the meet location where he had directed the purported child. In a post-arrest interview, Wheeler admitted that he had communicated with the purported child, and sent the labeled photographs of his genitalia to the purported child. Wheeler further admitted that he had tried to meet with the purported minor on two prior occasions to engage in sexual intercourse.
Joseph H. Harrington said, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington continues to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of crimes involving children, like the offense in this case.”

This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:

• Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
• Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
• Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
• Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
• Community awareness and educational programs.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

Homeland Security Investigations and the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation of this matter. The case was prosecuted by Laurel J. Holland, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.