Gold Bar ex-councilman gets federal prison for child porn

Brian Diaz, a pharmacist and genetic researcher, is still awaiting trial for possession of methamphetamine.

GOLD BAR — A former Gold Bar city councilman must serve three years in federal prison and 10 years on probation for collecting and sharing child pornography, a judge ruled this week in U.S. District Court.

Brian Diaz, 49, a chemist and biotech researcher, used a peer-to-peer file-sharing program to download images of infants and toddlers being tortured and sexually abused, according to federal prosecutors.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security traced his IP address and obtained a warrant to search his home in January 2019. As federal agents spoke with him outside, he reached into his pocket, where he had a concealed pistol. He also had a knife. He surrendered both weapons without further incident. Diaz told the agents he regularly watched pornographic videos of children, and he reportedly said he was aware that he was sharing the videos online.

About a gram of what appeared to be methamphetamine was recovered from his wallet, and a bit more from a pill bottle in his dresser, according to separate charges filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. The charges say Diaz confirmed it was meth, saying he ate small pieces of the drug at a time.

The agents seized his computer and found thousands of sexual images and videos of children on the hard drive.

Diaz had been elected to the Gold Bar City Council in 2017, running unopposed in a year where all of the city’s council races went uncontested. He resigned Feb. 5, 2019, citing “circumstances beyond my immediate control.”

Court records show Diaz is a lifelong resident of Washington. He graduated from Snohomish High School, then attended Everett Community College, Western Washington University and the University of Washington, where he earned two degrees, a Master of Science and a Doctor of Pharmacy.

Once the charges came to light, his license to practice as a pharmacist was suspended by the state health department. He also was fired from his job at a Seattle genetic research company.

Diaz posted bond with a requirement to remain under house arrest, with electronic GPS monitoring. It was later relaxed to a curfew. A probation officer visited his home to check on him in August 2019, and Diaz made a comment about wanting to harm the agents who arrested him. His public defenders argued the sentiment got twisted around. Diaz was upset about how court papers made it sound like he was going to pull a gun on the agents, when really he cooperated, informed the agents of the gun and had no intention to kill them. According to the defense, that was made out to be a “statement about killing the arresting HSI agents.”

“To those who do not know him well enough, his body language and directness might be misinterpreted,” according to a motion filed by his public defenders. “Those who know him well describe Mr. Diaz as bright, anxious, high-strung, fastidious, impatient, quirky, organized and clean.”

A judge declined to revoke his release at the time.

Diaz pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in November 2019, in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart sentenced Diaz on Tuesday. He’ll serve his time at a prison in Oregon. He must undergo treatment for sexual deviancy and substance abuse.

The felony charges of meth possession were filed last year in Snohomish County. Diaz is still awaiting trial in that case. His next court hearing is scheduled for late September.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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