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June 10, 2011

POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPH LANDS 20 YEAR-OLD AREA MAN IN PRISON

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – A 20-year-old Corpus Christi man convicted by a jury of multiple counts of possessing child pornography was sentenced to the maximum prison term allowed by law, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Gabriel Rios, 20, of Corpus Christi, Texas, was sentenced this afternoon by Senior United States District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack to 120 months in federal prison without parole - the statutory maximum punishment - on each of eight counts of possessing child pornography. The prison terms, which are to be served concurrently, will be followed by a life term of supervised release during which Rios will be required to comply with a number of special conditions designed to protect children and the community or face the possibility of yet another prison term. Rios must also register as a sex offender.

Rios was convicted by a jury on March 31, 2011, of all eight counts of possession of child pornography alleged in a 10-count indictment and acquitted of one count of receipt and one count of distribution following a trial. During trial, the testimony of law enforcement and civilian witnesses provided proof of Rios’ guilt in possessing eight videos of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The jurors heard testimony that Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) detectives, acting in undercover capacities, downloaded several videos of child pornography via a peer to peer file sharing program from an IP address linked to Rios’ residence which led to the execution of a search of his residence. CCPD officers along with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents seized a computer found to contain at least 73 videos depicting images of child pornography. The jury also heard that Rios admitted to investigative agents that he had used the file sharing program and was aware there was child pornography on his computer.  However, Rios denied responsibility for its presence. The government called several civilian witnesses who testified that Rios was the primary user of the computer. Forensic experts testified about their examination of Rios’ computer and told the jury that the pornography found on the computer was obtained on a consistent basis over a period of many months through numerous separate downloads and that many of the videos had been downloaded more than once and previewed while being downloaded.

In sentencing Rios to the maximum term of imprisonment, Judge Jack recalled the evidence at trial and the graphic nature of the child pornography videos possessed by Rios in which children were raped and sodomized, as well as his lack of remorse and acceptance of responsibility for his crimes.

Rios, who was originally released on bond following his arrest, has been in federal custody without bond since February 2011 after committing a violation of the bond conditions imposed by the court.  
 
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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