Child porn ring suspects arrested

Two people are in custody on dozens of felony charges as part of what Altoona police have said is an ongoing investigation into a possible child pornography, child prostitution and methamphetamine ring.

Angela P. Meadows, 35, of 1203 S. 27th St., Apt. 1B, and Joshua P. Dickson, 31, of 1318 Second Ave., were charged Wednesday with 63 counts each of felony endangering the welfare of a child stemming from the Altoona police investigation that started June 4 when 30-year-old Stephen Apostolu told a

detective investigating a robbery that he had an addiction to

child pornography.

According to a search warrant served at Apostolu’s home at 439 Third Ave. early June 5, Altoona police then received information from Apostolu’s girlfriend that he “was an avid child pornographer” and she “had known about Apostolu’s penchant for child pornography for approximately one year.”

Police hauled out two instant cameras, numerous hard drives, media cards, phones and other evidence, according to a receipt for items taken by police in the search.

Apostolu’s girlfriend pointed investigators to Meadows, saying Apostolu had offered Meadows money to photograph her 9-year-old and 13-year-old daughters, but that Meadows had refused and kicked Apostolu out of her Logan Hills apartment.

When interviewed by investigators, Meadows allegedly told police Apostolu “offered to pay her ‘large amounts of money’ to allow her to take naked pictures of her two daughters” and he “bragged about running a child pornography business and said he distributes pictures of juveniles via the internet and makes substantial amounts of money doing it,” Altoona police Detective Cpl. Terry Merritts noted in the

application for the search warrant.

In the charges filed against Meadows and Dickson, police pointed out that Meadows contacted Merritts on Tuesday and told the detective she had a flash drive and numerous DVDs, one labeled “Pictures,” that belonged to Apostolu and were left in her apartment and vehicle before he was arrested.

When officers drove over to Meadows’ apartment on Tuesday afternoon to talk with her, Dickson arrived on a motorcycle. Police indicated he was also implicated as an associate of Apostolu.

Police said Dickson had methamphetamine on him, along with a smoking pipe, and $274 in cash.

Dickson allegedly told police about an electronic tablet he received from Apostolu, a cellphone he got from Meadows and talked

of selling methamphetamine and marijuana to “Apostolu’s circle of associates.”

Dickson also provided information about the suspected child pornography and child prostitution investigation, police noted.

Meadows then told police she was aware of the child pornography and child prostitution ring and said she was addicted to methamphetamine along with other drugs. She told police she was propositioned to allow her daughters to be photographed and filmed in exchange for money and that for the past two months she would go to Dickson’s house during the overnight hours and smoke meth with him while her children watched Dickson’s two children, ages 2 and 11 months.

Meadows said this went on while Dickson’s girlfriend was working third shift, and in the morning she would drive back to Logan Hills with her kids while high. Meadows estimated she was at Dickson’s about 14 times over the past two months, police noted in the charges.

Meadows allegedly admitted she gave her 13-year-old daughter marijuana to smoke six times over the last three weeks and half of a Xanax pill.

Dickson, who also faces drug charges along with the child endangerment counts, was jailed in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. Meadows remains in Blair County Prison with bail set at $35,000 cash.

A preliminary hearing is slated for Wednesday at Central Court.

COMMENTS