News and Press Releases

Mercer County Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Producing Child Pornography

December 5, 2012

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Mercer County, Pa., has been sentenced in federal court to 35 years imprisonment, to be followed by a term of supervised release to extend the remainder of his life, on his conviction of production of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab imposed the sentence on Armando Cruz, 44.

According to information presented to the court, on March 6, 2011, and on June 12, 2011, in Mercer, Pa, Cruz used, persuaded, and coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct. Information presented to the court at the time of the guilty plea established that Cruz engaged in sexual conduct and/or had sexual contact with four minor children, three of whom had not attained the age of 12, for the purpose of producing video and still images of the sexual exploitation, which he then distributed to other men, to include one in Denver, Colo., and one in San Diego, Calif. Both men have been charged with similar conduct.

Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, Mercer Barracks, and the Mercer County District Attorney's Office for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Cruz. U.S. Attorney Hickton further commended the Mercer County Children and Youth Services for providing valuable assistance to the minor victims during the investigation of this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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