ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis County man appeared in federal court on Wednesday and admitted possessing tens of thousands of videos and images containing child pornography.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Missouri said Christopher Cotton, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography.

Cotton admitted uploading illicit material to DropBox, which triggered a report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The NCMEC contacted local law enforcement, who launched an investigation and obtained a search warrant for Cotton’s home.

Police went to Cotton’s home on July 13, 2022.

Cotton told police he’d received sexually-explicit images or videos from at least 15 minors via social media, the youngest of whom was 13.

Investigators searched Cotton’s electronic devices, and discovered at least 16,677 images and 46,414 videos of child pornography on the devices and in online accounts tied to Cotton.

Federal prosecutors did not announce a sentencing date. Cotton faces between five and 20 years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine.