An eight-month long, disturbing joint investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, US Postal Service, Bossier City Marshal Office NWLA-ICAC Task Force, Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office and Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force led to the arrest of a Natchitoches man on multiple felony charges ranging from child pornography, narcotics, theft, identity theft and others according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.
The investigation began in May of 2020 when Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Deputies contacted the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division reporting that they had arrested Christopher Aaron Stanfield, 33, of Natchitoches on narcotics, weapon and property offenses.
During a search of Stanfield’s vehicle, Rapides deputies discovered a duffle bag containing several pieces of mail belonging to residents and businesses in Natchitoches and Rapides Parishes as well as residents of Texas and Arizona.
NPSO detectives traveled to Alexandria to meet with Rapides detectives to discuss their findings and collect evidence.
As the investigation progressed, NPSO detectives identified mail that came from 30 households and businesses in Natchitoches Parish.
Some of the mail contained personal and business checks, credit card numbers, bank statements and other private information commonly used in identity theft schemes.
In early June 2020, Rapides detectives contacted NPSO detectives reporting they also had a package seized from Stanfield’s vehicle containing eyeglass frames and sunglasses.
NPSO detectives received a theft report May 27, 2020, from an individual reporting that package had been stolen from their mailbox on La. Hwy 1 in Natchitoches Parish.
Detectives returned to Rapides Parish and met with several law enforcement agencies to network and discuss this ongoing criminal investigation that consisted of multiple jurisdictions. Each handed their own investigation, but updated everyone on the progress of each case.
The investigation continued by all agencies including search warrants issued for forensic images of electronic equipment seized from Stanfield.
Based on sufficient evidence and probable cause, detectives obtained criminal arrest warrants signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge for the arrest of Stanfield on 30-counts of mail theft and 11-counts of identity theft in Natchitoches Parish.
Stanfield had been released on bond in Rapides Parish pending the ongoing investigation, however, outstanding warrants existed for his arrest on the current case.
On Oct. 6 detectives located and took Stanfield into custody without incident on the outstanding warrants while at Riverview Inn Apartments in Natchitoches.
Detectives executed a search warrant signed by a 10th Judicial Court Judge of the apartment after observing suspected narcotics in plain view. Natchitoches Drug Task Force also obtained a secondary search warrant to search the apartment for narcotics evidence.
During the search, detectives and drug task force agents seized electronic equipment, along with suspected narcotics and drug paraphernalia.
Stanfield was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center on all Mail Theft and Identity Theft charges as well as Narcotics Offenses.
A search warrant was also issued for the electronic equipment seized from Stanfield’s apartment.
NPSO High Tech Crime Unit detectives discovered what appeared to be pornography involving juveniles on the device.
Detectives say during a brief interview with Stanfield, he stated he had been active on the “dark web” since January of 2020.
The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets: overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations or authorization to access. Through the dark web, private straphanger networks can communicate and conduct business anonymously without divulging identifying information, such as a user’s location.
Case volume caused detectives to summon assistance from the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations and Bossier City Marshal NWLA-ICAC Task Force Unit.
On Jan. 25, LSP contacted detectives with the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division reporting they collected and seized 513 images and six videos of child pornography involving children under the age of 12.
In addition, four images and one video of sexual acts involving animals were also seized.
Additional warrants were obtained.
On Jan. 25 NPSO detectives arrested Stanfield while incarcerated in the NPDC on the other charges. He was then charged with 519 Counts of Pornography involving Juveniles, 1 Count of Possession of Pornography involving Juveniles with Intent to Distribute and 5 Counts of Sexual Abuse of Animals.
Stanfield remains in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center with bond set by a 10th Judicial District Court Judge at $884,000.
The investigation is ongoing.
The case will be presented to the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution.
Sheriff Stuart Wright praised the work of all agencies involved in this lengthy investigation that required numerous hours of investigation, obtaining search warrants and gathering information and evidence for prosecution.
“We commend the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office for their outstanding work and networking with us to initiate this investigation in what simply began as a traffic stop. Our workload in this investigation was overwhelming and we thank the Louisiana State Police and Bossier Marshal Office-NWLA-ICAC Task Force for their assistance. We will continue, as well as other law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Louisiana and nationally, to identify and arrest individuals that exploit the safety of our children,” Wright said.