Sept. 21, 2010
WESLACO MAN CONVICTED OF RECEIPT AND PRODUCTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
(MCALLEN, Texas) – After admitting to having received more than 400 movies and 4,000 images of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct and producing at least one of those images with a Samsung cellular phone and then uploading the image onto his computer, Raul Casarez of Weslaco, Texas, was convicted of receipt and production of child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Today, Casarez, 30, admitted to receiving the hundreds of movies thousands of images before Chief United States District Judge Richard H. Hinojosa in open court. The movies and images Casarez received via the Internet depicted children under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct including some children in “bondage.” The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has identified some of the children depicted in the images as known victims. The child pornography image that Casarez produced involved a child under the age of 18.
The charges against Casarez are the result of a undercover investigation conducted by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) initiated in September 2009 after an undercover officer was able to download child pornography through a “peer to peer” program. The computer from which the images were downloaded was subsequently identified as belonging to and being used by Casarez. Follow-up investigationultimately lead to the identification of Casarez residence. A search warrant for Casarez’ computer and residence was executed on Dec. 17, 2009, and lead to his arrest the same day. A forensic examination of the computer, along with storage media seized pursuant to the search warrant, lead to the discovery of not only the images and movies he received via the Internet, but also images taken by Casarez through use of cellular telephone.
Chief Judge Hinojosa has scheduled sentencing for Dec. 21, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. The production of child pornography conviction carries a punishment of no less than 15 years up to 30 years in prison. A conviction for receipt of child pornography carries a sentence of no less than five years up to 20 years imprisonment. The sentences for each offense can also result in the imposition of a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of no less than five years up to a maximum of life.
Casarez has been in custody without bond since his December 2009 arrest and will remain in custody pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by ICE-HSI with the assistance of the Weslaco Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly Bulger Leo is prosecuting this case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC). PSC is 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 Attorney’s 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 victim. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
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