Crime

Child Porn Trumps Hunting Guide for Jews, Muslims in Wesley Gilreath Bust

Child Porn Trumps Hunting Guide for Jews, Muslims in Wesley Gilreath Bust
TARIK KIZILKAYA/Getty Images
The details concerning the arrest by federal authorities of Boulder's Wesley David Gilreath, 29, are particularly instructive given the white supremacy-inspired mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on August 4, just two days before Gilreath appeared at a U.S. District Court hearing in Denver.

Why? Because, as arrest documents demonstrate, it's apparently easier to prosecute Gilreath for child pornography than for posting a so-called hunting guide targeting Jews and Muslims.

According to the federal complaint, Gilreath's path to a jail cell began, as so many do, with a simple mistake: losing a cell phone.

The device, an Apple iPhone, was found by an RTD employee on a Boulder bus just before midnight on May 31, and it had been left unlocked. When a second employee opened it up, he was taken directly to the photo gallery, which is said to have contained "various child pornography."


RTD staffers subsequently reached out to the Boulder Police Department, and over the next couple of months, two judges authorized a more thorough search of the gadget. The examination quickly established its owner as Gilreath, a previous subject of FBI attention.

An excerpt from the complaint: "On January 24, 2019, FBI Task Force Officer Eric Miller interviewed Wesley D. Gilreath in Boulder, Colorado, after receiving information that Gilreath had posted a 'Montana Hunting Guide' online. The FBI identified Gilreath as the poster after receiving a tip advising that a then-unknown entity was posting 'hunting guides' concerning: Jews, Muslims, Bureau of Land Management and Montana National Guard facilities; and a refugee center."

click to enlarge Wesley Gilreath's booking photo. - BOULDER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Wesley Gilreath's booking photo.
Boulder County Sheriff's Office
Such "hunting guides" routinely "contain information that may be used to violently target individuals or entities with belief systems, identities, ethnicities, religions, political views or other matters antithetical to their own," the complaint maintains.

The January FBI interview, conducted in the presence of an attorney, doesn't appear to have frightened Gilreath. Indeed, the complaint says, he later "posted or attempted to post the recording on his YouTube webpage."


A few months later, on May 24, Gilreath attempted to buy a gun at a Boulder retail outlet — a potential escalation that was short-circuited when the purchase was denied. Gilreath blamed his father and sent a message to him: "You've permanently ruined my ability to buy a gun in CO and other states."

None of this was enough to justify taking Gilreath into custody — but the images on his iPhone certainly were. The federal document includes startling descriptions of photos, including one that allegedly focused on a blindfolded pre-pubescent girl and a dog.

The order of detention for Gilreath cites the hunter's guide and "numerous white supremacist documents and paraphernalia" in justifying his "confinement in a corrections facility." But they follow references to the more than 1,000 images of child pornography ultimately located on two separate devices.

Clearly, United States Attorney Jason Dunn is relieved that one awful action allowed the feds to bust someone who appears to have had a chilling interest in a very different type of atrocity. His statement on Gilreath's arrest: "The charge in this case demonstrates that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal and state law enforcement partners will use every available law enforcement tool not just to prosecute federal crimes, but also to disrupt and prevent potential hate crimes."

Click to read United States of America v. Wesley David Gilreath and the order of detention.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts