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Minnesota man accused of smuggling child porn into Canada through ND

Craig Leslie

PEMBINA, N.D.—A Minnesota man, after being sentenced in Canada, now faces criminal charges in North Dakota after investigators said he tried to smuggle child porn into the country.

Craig Eugene Leslie, 27, of Anoka, Minn., appeared Monday in Pembina County District Court in the far northeast corner of North Dakota on five Class C felony charges of possessing certain prohibited materials. Criminal documents allege Leslie had four photos and a video depicting children who appeared to be less than 10 years old being forced to engage in sexual acts.

He was driving with the child porn on May 27, 2017, through Pembina County on Interstate 29 toward the Pembina Port of Entry and was en route to the Emerson, Manitoba, Port of Entry in Canada, according to court documents. Investigators with the Canada Border Services Agency referred him for a secondary examination, according to a news release for the Canadian entity. Officers examined his electronic devices, discovered the suspected child porn and arrested Leslie, the release said.

Because of the arrest, Leslie was accused in Manitoba of attempting to smuggle digital images and videos of child porn into Canada, in accordance with the country's Customs Act, according to the release. He pleaded guilty in August and was sentenced to 20 months behind bars, the release said.

It appears Leslie was released early. Pembina County law enforcement recently took him into custody after he was released by Canadian authorities. Court documents indicating a warrant of arrest was served were filed Monday.

Each Class C felony carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

Anoka is a suburb of the Twin Cities.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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