A former Jackson Heights photographer suspected of drug smuggling and child pornography was arraigned in Brooklyn federal court last week after being extradited from Colombia, federal prosecutors said.
Michaelangelo Pinzon, 32, who shot beauty pageants and other social events, pleaded not guilty to the charges and was denied bail, authorities said.
His next court date is April 29. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Pinzon, a U.S. citizen who also went by the alias Michael Star, was arrested in Jackson Heights in connection to a drug smuggling case on Dec. 22, 2006, but fled the country after being released on bail, according to court papers.
Authorities searching Pinzon's property found images indicating he had traveled to Colombia to engage in sex with minors, law enforcement sources said.
Pinzon was indicted by a grand jury in January 2007 on 74 counts of producing child pornography, importing a controlled substance and being a fugitive. He was caught in Colombia the next month.
Many of the photographs produced in August 2006 depict Pinzon having sexual relations with children, according to the grand jury indictment. The minors were aged 11 to 15, a law enforcement source said.
Colombian national police found more child pornography on computer equipment at Pinzon's hideout in Medellin, law enforcement officials said.
Federal customs investigators began looking at Pinzon in December 2006 after mail inspectors found a heroin-filled metal drive shaft in a package addressed to someone at Pinzon's business, according to a criminal complaint filed in December 2006.
Agents delivered the package to the location and arrested Pinzon after he signed for it, court papers show.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2008 Community News Group
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