A 43-year old former Joplin, MO, police officer recently pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving and distributing child pornography.

The U.S. Attorneys Office says 43-year old Gary McKinney, of Joplin, pleaded guilty to the charge contained in an October 24, 2018, federal indictment. McKinney was an officer with the Joplin Police Department for about seven years until May 20, 2006, after which he worked for a short time as a police officer in Webb City and Duquesne, MO.

The investigation reportedly began September 17, 2018, when a federal agent received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Facebook reported that a user had uploaded a video file of the sexual assault of a 4-year-old victim. Law enforcement officers contacted the Facebook user, who at that time was conversing with McKinney using the KIK messaging application.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at McKinney’s residence on October 3, 2018, and seized his cell phone.

Investigators reportedly located 506 images and 148 videos that contained child pornography on McKinney’s cell phone. The examination showed that McKinney used both the Telegram and KIK applications to converse with others and exchange child pornography.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, McKinney is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 20 years. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.