Former South Lake Tahoe fire captain pleads guilty in child porn case | TahoeDailyTribune.com

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Former South Lake Tahoe fire captain pleads guilty in child porn case

A former South Lake Tahoe fire captain could face more than 11 years in prison after agreeing last week to a guilty plea of transporting child pornography.

Former South Lake Tahoe Fire Capt. Mark McLeod Wygant’s signature on the plea agreement came nearly two years after he was arrested on charges related to child pornography.

According to court documents, Wygant can request a sentence of no less than 10 years, while the government will recommend a sentence of no more than 11 years and three months.

Transporting child pornography carries a maximum of 20 years and a minimum of five years in prison for a first-time offender, according to the Justice Department.

Under the agreement, Wygant also agrees to pay restitution to the victim and will not file for bankruptcy in order to avoid restitution payments.

He will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

Wygant was arrested on Jan. 29, 2015, following a FBI and South Lake Tahoe Police Department investigation, the Tribune previously reported. A FBI affidavit at that time alleged Wygant surreptitiously filmed a child on numerous occasions from early 2011 to early 2012 by using a hidden iPhone and “spy cameras” that he purchased.

He resigned from the fire department less than a week after his arrest.

The former fire captain was originally accused of obtaining or producing child pornography material that included more than 5,000 images and 500 videos. Some of the victims were between 4 and 13 years old, the Tribune reported.

According to the factual basis in the plea agreement, Wygant used a hidden camera to record the victim, identified as “Juvenile Victim 1,” while she was showering or immediately after she was showering between February 2011 and 2012. The victim was between 12 and 13 years old and Wygant was “in a position of custody or control” over the victim at the time of the recordings.

Wygant resided in Chico. The recordings were transported on a portable memory drive to South Lake Tahoe, where the device was discovered on Jan. 5, 2015.

A portion of the trip between Chico and South Lake Tahoe involved traveling on Interstate 80 and U.S. 50, which are both part of a nationwide network of highways, and therefore a means and facility of interstate commerce.

Wygant’s sentencing date is set for March 3.