Sept. 22, 2010
ONLINE PREDATOR SENTENCED TO PRISON
(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – Joel Michael Garcia, 29, has been sentenced to prison for attempted coercion and enticement of a child and distribution of child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
United States District Judge John D. Rainey sentenced Garcia today to 14 years incarceration without parole to be followed by a 10-year-term of supervised release during which the court has ordered Garcia to comply with a number of conditions designed to protect children and limit Garcia’s Internet access and involvement with and access to children and places where children congregate. Garcia was also ordered to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.
In handing down the sentence today, Judge Rainey considered the harm caused to the victims in this case whose images Garcia possessed and distributed as well as the very real danger Garcia presents to the community as demonstrated by his willingness to arrange to engage in sexual activity with children.
Garcia pleaded guilty on April 21, 2010, to both counts - attempted coercion and enticement of a minor and distribution of child pornography - alleged in the indictment returned by a Corpus Christi grand jury in March 2010. Garcia has been in custody since his Feb.10, 2010, arrest and will remain in custody to serve his sentence at a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.
The charges against Garcia are the result an investigation conducted by officers of the Corpus Christi Police Department and the FBI which was initiated when Garcia began communicating online with someone Garcia believed would provide him with access to a 12-year-old child for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with that child. Garcia did not know the person with whom he was communicating was actually an undercover officer. Garcia sent several images of child pornography to the undercover officer and openly discussed his desire to engage in sexual acts with the child and ultimately arranged to meet the undercover officer on Feb. 10, 2010, to engage in the criminal activity with a minor. On the appointed date and time, Garcia arrived at the pre-arranged meeting site in Corpus Christi and was arrested.
Following Garcia’s arrest, investigating officers searched Garcia’s vehicle and found an external hard drive which a forensic analysis found contained 400 images and 17 videos of child pornography of prepubescent children, some less than a year old. Many of the images and videos depicted victims previously identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke, 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.
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