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December 11, 2012

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee

Knoxville Man Indicted For Interstate Transportation Of A Minor To Engage In Illegal Sexual Activity

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — On Dec. 4, 2012, a federal grand jury indicted an El Salvador citizen, who is residing in the United States illegally, for interstate transportation of a minor for the purpose of engaging the child in illegal sexual activity.

Jose Santos Argueta, 42, who currently resides in Knoxville, Tenn., is charged with interstate transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. The indictment alleges that between December 2010 and January 2011, within the Eastern District of Tennessee and elsewhere, Argueta transported an individual who had not attained 18 years of age in interstate and foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity with the minor.

On Dec. 10, 2012, Argueta had an initial appearance before the Honorable H. Bruce Guyton, U.S. Magistrate Judge. Trial is scheduled for Feb. 19, 2013, before the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, U.S. District Judge. If convicted, Argueta faces a mandatory term of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $250,000, a term of supervised release of not less than five years and up to life, and a $100 special court assessment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Kirby will represent the United States. This indictment is the result of a collaborative investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Knoxville Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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 For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab resources.

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