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Feds Arrest Two More for Creating and Distributing Monkey Torture Videos

The feds say the two men were involved in online groups that created and distributed monkey torture videos.

Federal authorities arrested two men who they say worked with a videographer from Indonesia to create monkey torture videos. According to last week's announcement, Nicholas T. Dryden, of Ohio, and Giancarlo Morelli, of New Jersey, face charges for conspiracy and distributing animal crush videos.

The U.S. Attorney's Office explained that Dryden and Morelli were both involved in online groups that distributed videos showing "sadistic violence against baby, adolescent and adult monkeys." However, Dryden was also charged with the "receipt of a visual depiction of the sexual abuse of children" because a minor was paid to abuse a monkey in one of the videos.

The conspiracy to distribute monkey torture videos

As of writing this article, neither Dryden's nor Morelli's indictments were publicly available, but a document containing allegations presented to a federal grand jury was. In the document, authorities redacted 14 of the 28 pages and blacked out a third defendant's name, Morelli's alias, and a few other details.

According to court documents, prosecutors recorded details of Dryden, aka Niko Bellic, Morelli and the third defendant's alleged crimes between March 12, 2023, and April 22, 2023. However, the narrative goes blank for several pages and then picks up on April 13, 2023.

Using messenger apps Telegram and WhatsApp, the defendants brainstormed ideas for new videos, which they sent to a filmmaker in Indonesia, prices and ways to pay, and even feedback for the filmmaker, the court documents say.

During one conversation, Dryden says he wants to see a baby monkey dressed in yellow clothes with its leg cut off and crawling to the adult monkeys. He also asks to see the monkey's wound burned and salted. "Please include older monkeys in this video because it seems to attract most customers," Dryden adds. "Please do this thing that I mentioned."

In another conversation, Morelli provided "a little constructive criticism" for Dryden to pass on to the filmmaker. "I think he's getting too quick to the knockout. The thing has absolutely no fight left after like 3-5 min. I think he needs to do a little more psychological damage before it is limp. He could also break or cut off fingers and toes." Dryden responds: "I'm gonna send him that."

Prosecutors say Morelli sent Dryden more than $1,200 for videos, and the unnamed defendant sent more than $600 to Dryden. Authorities say each individual payment represents a single overt act.

More 'animal crush' crimes

Federal lawmakers passed a measure to outlaw "animal crush" videos back in 2010 with the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act. While initial videos literally showed animals being crushed, the law bans depictions of animal cruelty.

Last month, another Ohio man entered into a plea agreement with federal authorities over his role in distributing monkey torture videos. Ronald Bedra admitted to managing an online forum dedicated to monkey torture videos beginning in June 2021. It's unclear if Bedra operated within the same network as Dryden and Morelli.

If convicted, Dryden and Morelli could face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge as well as seven years for the animal crush videos. Dryden could face up to 20 years for the child sex abuse videos.