James Gordon Meek
© ABC via Getty ImagesFormer ABC News reporter James Gordon Meek was hit with child pornography charges by federal authorities in Virginia.
Former ABC News reporter James Gordon Meek was hit with a federal child pornography charge this week-almost ten months after the FBI raided his home and seized his laptop and other electronic devices.

Meek- who resigned abruptly from the network after the raid last spring- was arrested late Tuesday night and charged with one count of transportation of child pornography by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia.

If convicted, he faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

In an affidavit unsealed Wednesday, FBI Special Agent Tonya Sturgill Griffith explained that the investigation into Meek's online activities started in March 2021, when Dropbox alerted authorities to child porn stored in the veteran journalist's account.

A search warrant was executed at Meek's Arlington home on April 27, 2022, when investigators seized several devices including an iPhone 8.

"The iPhone 8 contained three chat conversations in which the username 'Pawny4' was engaging in sexually explicit conversations where the participants expressed enthusiasm for the sexual abuse of children," Griffith wrote.

Also on the phone, Meek was found to have received and sent child porn images and videos through the messaging app Kik.

In one particularly disturbing exchange with an unidentified user, Meek allegedly asked "Have you ever raped a toddler girl? It's amazing."

"It's my [sic] dream," the user replied.

In another conversation dated to late winter 2020, Meek told a different unnamed Kik user about his fantasy of "abducting, drugging, and raping" her as a 12-year-old girl.

The affidavit also detailed the caches of disturbing images and videos on Meek's other devices, as well as his conversations with unnamed minors on platforms like Omegle.

An attorney for Meek did not respond to a request for a comment on Wednesday.

Prior to the fallout from the raid, Meek, 53, enjoyed an international reputation as an award-winning national security journalist.

Before joining ABC News in 2013, he was a reporter for the New York Daily News, where he was the first to report on Al-Qaeda's foiled plot to bomb New York City's tunnels in 2006.

According to Simon & Schuster, Meek also spent five years investigating the suspicious 2008 death of Army Private First Class David Sharrett in Iraq. His findings allegedly helped force the Army to admit that Sharrett was killed by his own commander.

Beginning in 2011, he served as a senior counterterrorism advisor and investigator for the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. While with the committee, he played a role in key probes into major terrorist acts, including the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Later, at ABC, Meek shared a 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Breaking News Coverage for ABC News Special Events' coverage of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

More recently, his dogged reporting on the 2017 Pentagon coverup of the deaths of U.S. servicemen in Niger served as the basis for the Emmy-nominated Hulu documentary "3212 Un-redacted."

Meek was also a writer and narrator for the film.

When Rolling Stone broke the news of the FBI raid in Oct. 2022, Meek's attorney Eugene Gorokhov said if the feds found "classified documents" on his devices, it was because of his career spent covering controversial people and events.

"If such documents exist, as claimed, this would be within the scope of his long career as an investigative journalist covering government wrongdoing," Gorokhov said.

ABC News staffers told the outlet that Meek resigned immediately after the raid and "fell off the face of the Earth."

Neighbors in his swanky Arlington high-rise also reported that they had not seen him for several months, and that his penthouse appeared to be empty.

Meek's last social media post- a one-word reply to a comment on Russia's invasion of Ukraine- was shared on April 27, the same day as the raid.