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Josh Duggar Charged With 2 Counts Of Child Pornography — Details On The Raid Prior To His Arrest

Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office
Josh Duggar mugshot

The most famous fundamentalist family in America present themselves as paragons of virtue.

The Duggar family has been on TV for over a decade, showing the world it's possible to raise a very large, very religious crew of kids to be happy, upstanding people.

But nothing in reality TV is ever as perfect as it seems and the Duggar family is a clear example of that.

After all, Josh Duggar, the eldest of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar's nineteen children has found himself in plenty of trouble in the past — and at present, he is reportedly in the custody of federal law enforcement officials in Arkansas.

Why was Josh Duggar arrested by federal agents?

It's now been revealed that Josh Duggar was arrested on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

Documents obtained by TMZ state Duggar "knowingly received child porn in mid-May 2019." More specifically, authorities are accusing him of "knowingly possessing images of child pornography, including images of minors below the age of 12."

Appearing before a judge at the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court via Zoom from the jail where he is currently being held without bail, Duggar entered a plea of not guilty on all counts.

His trial is currently scheduled for July, and if convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison with fines of up to $250,000.00 on each count.

No clear information on the evidence authorities have on Duggar has been released to the public by authorities as of yet, but we do know that in November 2019, Homeland Security was seen around the car dealership where Duggar worked, and that his office was raided "in connection to a federal probe."

RELATED: Josh Duggar's Sisters Were Allegedly Forced To Forgive Him For Molesting Them

As a teen, he was sent away to some kind of religious-based rehab after his family found out he had molested four girls in their home.

Later, when the adultery website Ashley Madison was hacked, his name was among the users who were doxxed by the hackers. When that happened, he admitted to cheating on his wife, blaming his behavior on porn addiction.

So when rumors started circulating that law enforcement had raided the Duggar family compound, a lot of people started thinking Josh might be in trouble again.

Did federal agents raid the Duggar compound, and if so, why?

Read on for all the details we know so far.

Rumors about a raid on the Duggar home surfaced in November 2019.

This weekend, users on social media started talking about a possible raid on the Duggar compound.

A post started circulating on different platforms that said, “Not so blind item: a reliable source in Arkansas just shared that the FBI is raiding a home of a certain former reality star with a controversial past.”

It doesn't take a detective to connect the dots on this one. Arkansas has only one big reality family and that family has only one son with a controversial past.

But the rumor fizzled almost as soon as it started, and there were no local news reports about law enforcement activity around the Duggar home.

The raid was reportedly conducted by Homeland Security, not the FBI.

The FBI flatly denied investigating any Duggars at all, according to InTouch.

Things took a turn on Tuesday morning when KDVR confirmed that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) raided the Duggar home.

An HSI spokesperson told the station, “[I do not dispute the information that] HSI was present there [Duggar home] pursuant to an on-going federal criminal investigation.”

The HSI declined to share any more details about the raid itself or about the investigation. They didn't even drop any hints about which Duggar might be in trouble at that time.

Commenters on the Duggar gossip page "Duggar Family News: Life is not all pickles and hairspray" indulged in some speculation about what might be going on.

RELATED: 11 Celebs And Politicians Who Support The Duggars' Family Values

What types of crimes could Homeland Security be investigating?

Considering that the prior wrongdoing associated with the Duggars was all about Josh and his history of sexual misconduct, the news that Homeland Security was looking at someone in the family threw fans for a loop. Sure, cheating on your wife isn't cool, but it also isn't an international crime.

A quick look at what HSI has jurisdiction over narrows the list of possibilities somewhat.

According to their website, HSI investigates the following:

  • Financial crimes, money laundering and bulk cash smuggling
  • Commercial fraud and intellectual property theft; Cybercrimes
  • Human rights violations
  • Human smuggling and trafficking
  • Immigration, document and benefit fraud
  • Narcotics and weapons smuggling/trafficking
  • Transnational gang activity; Export enforcement
  • International art and antiquity theft.

While it's fun to imagine that the Duggars have a secret life as transnational art thieves, it seems more likely that anything they did wrong is probably related to financial crimes.

The Duggars own and operate businesses and it seemed reasonable to assume they may have run afoul of the law that way.

RELATED: Are Josh And Anna Duggar Divorcing?

The Duggar family denied that there was a raid of any kind.

Needless to say, the always-image-conscious family was quick to issue a denial that their home had been raided.

A statement from the family said, “We were shocked to see a news report today state that our home was raided by federal law enforcement agencies. This is not true. To the best of our knowledge, it’s also not true that any member of our family is the target of any investigation of any kind.

"Living a life in the public’s eye has taught us that it is best not to reply to every rumor and piece of 'fake news' that is circulated online. It would be a full-time job if we attempted to do so. However, because of tonight’s media coverage, we thought it is important to address this rumor with you."

Jed Duggar, the son who had recently announced that he was running for a seat in the Arkansas state legislature, made sure to distance himself from any suspicion on wrongdoing.

When asked about a raid on this house he told KDVR, "I don’t live there and I am not aware of any investigation.”

Duggar fans were surprised to hear that. Typically, Duggar kids live at home until they get married. Perhaps Jed felt like a grown man who lived with his parents wasn't the political image he wanted to project so he got his own place.

Homeland Security clarified.

Local news stations delved into the story and were able to ascertain the address where the raid actually took place wasn't the main Duggar compound. In fact, it wasn't a home at all.

KNWA, an NBC affiliate, called HSI to confirm that a raid took place at a business address registered to Wholesale Motorcars.

After searching county records, the TV station determined the "location has Josh Duggar listed as the contact for the business, but he is not listed as the property owner."

The news station tried to learn more about why HSI was at Josh's car lot and what the reason for the visit was — was it a search or a raid?

HSI could only say that there is an open and ongoing criminal investigation but no further information would be available until such time as charges were formally filed. When pressed if Josh was the subject of the investigation, a rep for the agency only said, "I can’t speak to any individual that may be under investigation. So I can confirm that we were at that address. And spoke to individuals at that location. But I can’t discuss any individuals by name.”

What's next for Josh Duggar and his family?

At this time, we really don't know what HSI was looking for at Josh's business.

It's possible that the raid was related to an ongoing case that Josh is involved in. He is due in court on a real estate fraud case stemming from a land purchase he made, according to KARK.

The story goes that a man named Carl Echols paid his cousin Edward Lewis $17,500 for a five-acre tract of land. They never recorded a title transfer but Echols lives on the property and has since he bought it in 2006. Through a series of mix-ups regarding property taxes, in 2016 Edwards got notice of back taxes owed. He paid them, which gave him ownership of the land again. He then turned around and sold the land to Josh Duggar's company ALB Investments.

He did all this without checking in with Echols, who was still the rightful owner of the property and that he was paying the taxes all along.

Josh, meanwhile, bought the property sight unseen, never visited it later, and never did a full title search when he purchased it. Now, Echols is suing Josh for "quiet title" and suing Edwards for breach of contract. The case is due in court in April 2020.

This case has been a pretty local matter up until now, but it is possible that it has somehow grown to include the kind of crimes that would draw the attention of HSI.

But HSI isn't talking, so we all just have to wait and see if any Duggars get slapped with criminal charges.

This is story is developing and will be updated as we learn more.

RELATED: How Many Grandchildren Do The Duggars Have In 2020?

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.