VICKSBURG — Bond has been set at $2 million for a man who authorities allege checked into casinos in the Mississippi and Louisiana under assumed identities and using their hotels’ free Wi-Fi connections to download hundreds of images of child pornography.
Russell Haley, 65, of Gulfport faces a total of 50 counts of possession of child pornography. The Vicksburg Post reports affidavits read Friday in Warren County Justice Court show two of those counts are in Mississippi, and 48 are in Louisiana.
Bond was set at $1 million in each state. Haley made no statements at Friday’s hearing other than to answer routine questions and ask for a court-appointed attorney.
“This has been in the works for several months,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said
Haley was arrested Thursday at DiamondJacks Casino in Vicksburg. Warren County investigator Todd Dykes said when Haley was arrested he had several fraudulent pieces of identification including fake passports.
The case was investigated by the sheriff’s office, the Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children or ICAC Task Force, Louisiana State Police, and gambling regulators in both states.
Investigators in both states discovered Haley had been visiting casinos over the past several months using aliases to rent rooms.
“It’s been a fairly complicated investigation because we were dealing with multiple jurisdictions and multiple identifies,” Pace said.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said Haley has been visiting casinos in the two states over the past several months, using aliases to mask his identity.
Louisiana and Mississippi gambling regulators obtained guest registries for the dates Haley allegedly downloaded images at several hotels. A comparison of the lists reveled Haley was consistently present as a guest on those dates, Hood said.
The hotel stays occurred during the seven-month period, Hood said.
Hood said when investigators found someone was using the free Wi-Fi at the Diamond Jacks Casino to download more images and verified Haley was a guest, authorities got a search warrant and made the arrest.
Hood said investigators found images of child pornography on Haley’s laptop computer, thumb drives and optical discs.
If convicted, Haley faces up to 80 years in prison in Mississippi and must register as a sex offender. Each count of possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of life in prison in Louisiana.
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