For Immediate Release
Melbourne Gun Enthusiast Pleads Guilty to Firearm and Child Sexual Exploitation Offenses
Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Nathan Joel Arledge (29, Melbourne) has pleaded guilty to a two-count Information. Count One charged Arledge with possession of two machine guns, an unregistered short-barrel rifle, and three unregistered silencers. Count Two charged Arledge with possession of child sexual abuse material. Arledge faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison on the firearms offenses, and up to 20 years’ imprisonment on the possession of child sexual abuse material offense. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, an investigation was initiated into Arledge after law enforcement received a cypertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that matched Arledge’s Internet Protocol (IP) address. During the investigation, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Arledge’s residence where they found electronics, multiple firearms, ammunition, silencers, flash bangs, potassium nitrate, magnesium flakes, gun powder, tactical clothing, body armor, law enforcement insignia, and counterfeit credentials for Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A forensic examination of Arledge’s cellphone uncovered numerous visual depictions of child sexual abuse material depicting young children. During an interview with law enforcement, Arledge admitted that he had made the machine guns, multiple silencers, and downloaded the child sexual abuse material despite knowing both were illegal.
Arledge agreed to forfeit his cellphone, an AR-10 style firearm, a .308 caliber firearm; a 9mm Luger firearm utilizing a Polymer80 brand kit, Glock-type firearm parts, a FAB Defense pistol-to-rifle conversion kit; and three firearm silencers, which were used to commit the charged offenses.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Courtney D. Richardson-Jones.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
This is also another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.