Nursing assistant sentenced to 240 years to life on child molestation charges

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SAN DIEGO — A San Diego nursing assistant was sentenced Friday to 240 years to life in state custody on child molestation charges, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Hector Manuel Carreon, 47, was convicted earlier this year in state court of 16 counts of conducting lewd acts with children under the age of 14. The case was prosecuted by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. Carreon's sentencing Friday is based on evidence that includes a 90-minute video Carreon recorded while he carried out the specific lewd acts with adolescent relatives.

In July 2013, Carreon was also convicted of various federal child sex exploitation offenses as part of the same case. In February, a federal judge sentenced him to 50 years in prison, which will be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. Carreon will serve both sentences concurrently.

"While this lengthy prison term serves justice given the perpetrator's reprehensible criminal acts, we also hope it serves to further the healing process for the young victims," said Derek Benner, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. "This sentence virtually assures this defendant will never again be able to sexually exploit children and that should be a source of strength and consolation for his victims."

HSI special agents took Carreon into custody in June 2012 while executing a federal search warrant at his residence, where they found him in bed with a family member under age 10. During the search, investigators seized more than 500 images and 900 videos from multiple computers that depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Three of the videos showed Carreon sexually molesting two adolescent family members.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678. For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

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