Federal trial continued against McAlester man

May 17—A federal judge ruled a case against a McAlester man federally indicted for allegedly coercing a minor and possessing child pornography is a "complex matter" and continued a scheduled June trial.

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Oklahoma indicted Nathan Rex Upton, 34, in December 2022 with one count of coercion and enticement along with one count of possession of certain material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents wrote in a federal criminal complaint they found a 5-terabyte hard drive that contained multiple folders labeled with first name, last name and age of individuals in images and videos in the folders.

Upton is also accused of paying who he believed was a 13-year-old boy for sexual images and videos and possessing more than 2,000 "comic-book like materials" that depicted "juveniles having sex with adults along with naked pictures of juveniles."

Agents wrote they found at least one image of child sexual abuse material on an external hard drive among evidence collected upon execution of an October 2022 search warrant at Upton's residence in McAlester.

Attorneys for the defense and prosecution filed a joint motion asking a federal judge to declare the case a complex matter and continue Upton's June trial date for six months.

The motion states the 5-terabyte hard drive was one of three encrypted hard drives seized from Upton's computer.

"The computer's storage totaled approximately 15 terabytes. HSI Computer Forensic Analysts have been able to decrypt the hard drives and on preliminary review of the forensic extraction, agents located approximately 5 TB of storage," the motion states. "However, CFAs are still diligently working to convert the remaining terabytes of information into a readable format. Given the overwhelming amount of data contained on these drives, agents have not been able to determine the full extent of the child sexual abuse material allegedly possessed by the defendant."

The motion also states defense attorneys would need additional time to prepare for trial and review "the full extent of the materials allegedly possessed by the defendant."

"While the United States' case against Defendant is strong, its investigation is clearly ongoing, and more relevant evidence will be gathered as the case progresses," the motion states.

U.S. District Judge Ronald A. White granted the motion to declare the case a complex matter and continued the scheduled June 6 trial start date to December 5.

A probable cause affidavit filed in the case states the investigation into Upton began after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security received information from the U.S. Secret Service regarding the purchase of "child sexual abuse material."

A financial investigation into Upton's banking accounts "revealed multiple transactions involving the purchase of CSAM," the report states.

Investigators found on two computer hard drives "multiple folders" of child pornography, the report states.

The affidavit states approximately 2,073 "comic-book like materials" were seized in the warrant that depicted children engaging in sexual acts with adults.

A search of a computer also found online chats between Upton and who he believed to be a 13-year-old boy, the report states.

The chats show Upton paying the boy with gift cards in exchange for sexually explicit pictures and videos, the affidavit states.

Upton remains without bond in the Pittsburg County Jail, which is a pre-trial holding facility for inmates in federal custody.