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April 7, 2011

AREA MAN CONVICTED OF DISTRIBUTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – A 37-year-old Corpus Christi man has pleaded guilty to distributing and possessing child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Indicted in February 2011, Johnny Alaniz, 37, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, to distributing child pornography in October 2011. Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head accepted Alaniz’s guilty plea and convicted him of the felony charge. Alaniz has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest in January 2011 where he will remain pending his sentencing set for June 15, 2011. Alaniz faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment for the distribution of child pornography conviction as well as a $250,000 fine, a mandatory requirement that he register as a sex offender and up to a life term of supervised release during which the court can impose any number of conditions designed to protect children.

The charges against Alaniz and his conviction are the result of an investigation conducted by Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) detectives and special agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). At yesterday’s re-arraignment hearing, Alaniz acknowledged that if the case were to go to trial, the government could prove that in October 2010 a CCPD detective, while acting in an undercover capacity, conducted an investigation into the online activities of persons distributing child pornography via peer to peer software. On Oct. 25, 2010, the detective downloaded multiple files of child pornography from Alaniz. A federal search warrant executed by HSI agents and CCPD detectives at Alaniz’ Corpus Christi home on Jan.13, 2011, resulted in the seizure of Alaniz’s computer. Subsequent forensic analysis of the computer led to the discovery of six images and 28 videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Alaniz admitted to actively searching the Internet for child pornography which he then made available for public download via peer to peer file sharing software. One of the videos has been identified as containing a known victim by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke is prosecuting the case.

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