July 13, 2009
ROBSTOWN RESIDENT SENTENCED FOR RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – Ernest Garza, 23, of Robstown, has been sentenced to 87 months in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release and lifetime registration as a sex offender, U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Garza had previously pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography in a federal indictment issued by the Corpus Christi grand jury on March 11, 2009. Garza has been in custody since his arrest on March 16, 2009.
In August 2008, an undercover investigation conducted by the FBI led to the discovery of child exploitation images being offered for download via the internet by Garza. On Sept. 22, 2008, a search warrant was executed on Garza’s Robstown, Texas, home. During the search, FBI agents, along with members of the Corpus Christi Police Department, seized a Gateway laptop computer which was found to contain numerous child exploitation videos and images. Garza was interviewed and admitted to using the computer to conduct internet searches for child pornography and a forensic examination of the computer confirmed Garza had been downloading child pornography as recently as September 2008. Some of the children in the child exploitation images and videos possessed by Garza have been previously identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
In sentencing Garza, Chief Judge Hayden Head recognized the need to establish an appropriate sentence for Garza that took into consideration his criminal activity as well as the need to protect the public and the harm caused to Garza’s victims.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lance Duke.
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