South Texas man sentenced to 5 years for receiving child pornography

MCALLEN, Texas – A south Texas man was sentenced Friday to five years in federal prison for receiving child pornography.

This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Roberto Garcia, 29, from Pharr, Texas, was sentenced to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa. Garcia was further ordered to serve a term of five years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty to the charges Jan. 24, 2012.

According to court documents, on Sept. 28, 2011, HSI McAllen began an Internet investigation to identify persons using the peer-to-peer software which reveals people trafficking in child pornography. While agents were looking for possible perpetrators, HSI came across an Internet Protocol computer address that was distributing movies with titles that were suggestive of child pornography.

On Jan. 24, 2012, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at the Garcia residence in Pharr and seized three computers which revealed child pornography. Garcia was subsequently arrested without incident.

"These HSI investigations take child predators off the Internet and off the streets by putting them behind bars," said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala, HSI San Antonio. "Targeting these crimes against children is a high priority for HSI. We will continue to dedicate our law enforcement resources to identify and bring to justice child predators who traumatize and victimize children."

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.

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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