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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Animal Torture Videos

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Producing, Distributing Sadistic Animal Torture Videos Following HSI Norfolk Investigation

Release Date: May 2, 2024

NORFOLK, Va. — A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk investigation led to a Virginia man pleading guilty to conspiracy to create and distribute animal crushing videos. Michael Macartney, 51, of Chesapeake, entered his guilty plea April 30 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk.

“Michael Macartney and his co-conspirators produced a collection of videos displaying abhorrent acts of animal torture that can only be described as evil,” said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. “The most disturbing facet of this investigation is that there is actually a market for this repulsive material. HSI Washington, D.C. will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to dismantle such operations and prosecute those responsible for propagating such wanton suffering.”

According to the HSI Norfolk investigation, from at least Nov. 4, 2021, through Aug. 5, 2022, Macartney and his co-conspirators administered a private online chat group and were members of other private online chat groups on an encrypted messaging platform for the purpose of funding, viewing, distributing and promoting videos depicting, among other things, the torture, murder and sexually sadistic mutilation of animals — specifically juvenile and adult monkeys.

Macartney received more than 300 electronic payments from co-conspirators for the purposes of promoting, creating, obtaining, receiving and distributing the torture videos.

On one occasion, Macartney raised additional funds for a bonus payment to a videographer who, at the request of the co-conspirators, created a video of a juvenile monkey being tortured with a jar of ants, leading to the monkey’s death.

In March 2022, Macartney agreed to sell copies of all his animal torture videos to a co-conspirator for $100. The co-conspirator sent Macartney $75 electronically and Macartney sent the co-conspirator website links where his videos were stored.

According to the investigation, Macartney bragged to a customer that he had more than 2,300 videos. However, investigators determined that Macartney was exaggerating. On Aug.5, 2022, Macartney possessed around 500 videos depicting animal cruelty.

Macartney is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 4, 2024. He faces a maximum of five years in prison.

This investigation was conducted by HSI Norfolk with significant assistance from HSI’s Global Trade Division and Environmental Crimes Unit. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Anyone with information regarding animal torture, illegal videos or crimes against children is encouraged to call the HSI Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP. The HSI Tip Line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSI_DC.

Last Updated: 05/02/2024
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