Police with Warrant for Child Porn Find Meth in Utah Daycare
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‘Why Was It Still Operating?’: Utah Daycare Shuttered After Police Executing Warrant for Child Porn Allegedly Find Meth

 
Sign outside of Utah daycare after police allegedly found meth while executing a search warrant on suspicion of child porn.

Sign outside of Utah daycare after police allegedly found meth while executing a search warrant on suspicion of child porn.

A Utah daycare was shut down after police executing a warrant on suspicion of child pornography allegedly found methamphetamine inside the facility. The at-home daycare is the same facility where two former employees, Kadence Pinder, 24, and Marcus Strebel, 29, lived when they were arrested and charged with possession of child pornography in February, Salt Lake City ABC affiliate KTVX reported.

According to the report, officers with the Sandy City Police Department and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC) severed the search warrant on the home early Monday morning. While investigators searched the residence in connection with new allegations of child pornography, they reportedly came across the meth and contacted the health department.

“Officers served that warrant, detained the people and collected evidence in conjunction with that warrant,” Sgt. Clay Swenson with Sandy Police Department said. “As they were searching the home for that evidence they discovered drugs, at that point we contacted the health department.”

Swenson also said that the warrant was executed early enough that no children were at the daycare, but noted that several parents arrived at the facility ready to drop off their kids only to find police searching the residence.

“It was an active daycare until today,” Swenson said. “At this time we don’t believe that those kids would have been exposed as the daycare was operated in a separate portion of the home than where the drugs were located.”

Authorities in February charged Pinder, a transgender YouTuber, in the Third District Court with 15 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Strebel, Pinder’s boyfriend, was charged with 10 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Court records reportedly stated that when they were taken into custody, the couple had approximately 125 pornographic videos and images depicting young boys being sexually abused.

Police were alerted about suspicious activity on accounts belonging to Pinder and Strebel in November 2020. Per Salt Lake City CBS affiliate KUTV, Pinder admitted the accounts belonged to her but said she never downloaded child pornography. She also reportedly said Strebel had access to her accounts and may have downloaded the material accidentally.

John Egbert, who lives next door to the facility, told Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSLTV that authorities should have closed down the daycare a long time ago.

“Why was it still operating? Why didn’t the state step in and do something about the licensing?” Egbert said.

“It’s a nice, quiet, or used to be a nice, quiet neighborhood. It’s getting a little more crazier. But neighbors I’ve spoken to are highly concerned and we have been over the last few years because of the activity at that residence.”

Egbert also reportedly told the station that he and other neighbors had seen seeing drug activity at the house for a long time and noted that law enforcement authorities had been to the residence on several other occasions.

Nicholas Rupp, a spokesperson for the Salt Lake County Department of Health, told KSLTV said that an inspection was conducted at the house after the department received the report from police at approximately 8 a.m. Inspectors confirmed that the suspected drug was methamphetamine and the home was deemed contaminated.

“The most important point is that the property will remain closed to entry by the health department until it is decontaminated and follow-up sampling determines it is below the state’s legal limit for methamphetamine contamination and therefore doesn’t present a health hazard,” Rupp said.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Sandy Police Department both confirmed that the warrant stemmed from a new case and separate allegations from those previously filed against Pinder and Strebel, though no arrests have been made yet.

The state health department clarified that because the facility cared for fewer than five children it was not required to be licensed, though the owner, Kelly Strebel, did so voluntarily.

[image via KTVX screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.