U.S. Marine Reservist Arraigned on Federal Child Pornography Charges
tALBUQUERQUE – Lee Baca, 22, a U.S. Marine Reservist who resides in Albuquerque, N.M., was arraigned this morning on a five count indictment charging him with child pornography offenses. Baca entered a not guilty plea to the indictment and was ordered detained pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
On June 26, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a sealed indictment charging Baca with three counts of receipt of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and two counts of possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. According to the indictment, Baca received child pornography between Dec. 2012 and Feb. 2013, and possessed child pornography in March 2013. The offenses allegedly occurred in Bernalillo County, N.M. The indictment was unsealed after Baca was arrested on June 29, 2013 by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents.
If convicted, Baca faces a maximum prison sentence of not less than five years and not more than 20 years on each of the receipt of child pornography charges, and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the possession of child pornography charges. The indictment against Baca is merely an accusation and he is presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Sexual Predator and Exploitation Enforcement (SPEED) Task Force, which is comprised of HSI, the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, and the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlyn E. Rees as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.
The case also was brought as part of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force’s mission, which is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 64 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.