court-hearingSPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Carl Junction man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.

According to court records, Steven Ray Cottle, Jr., 35, admitted to the crimes in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush.

Court records indicate officials were conducting an undercover investigation and identified Cottle’s computer as receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet in December of 2013.

Upon executing a search warrant, agents say Cottle made an attempt to hide his laptop and two thumb drives in the ceiling tiles of his bedroom before confronting law enforcement officers. Officers discovered images and videos of child pornography on the devices.

Federal statutes subject Cottle to a minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, and a possibility of up to 20 years in prison without parole. Cottle is also subject to a fine of $250,000.