Laredo Man Convicted of Possession of Child Pornography
|Aug. 15, 2012|
LAREDO, Texas – Luis Alberto Alcala, 24, of Laredo, Texas, has pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to view visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
During the plea colloquy before Senior U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker today, Alcala admitted to downloading from child pornography sites and viewing pictures and videos of girls under the age of 18 engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Several of the images were identified as known victims and indexed in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The case arose from an Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Laredo Police Department (LPD) investigation that began in June 2008 after a complaint of the theft of a debit/credit card. The card was used to purchase a computer at Wal-Mart along with other items that were not authorized by the owner of the debit/credit card. Further investigation by LPD led to Alcala who admitted to detectives that he had used the card to purchase the laptop computer that was found at his apartment. A search of the computer by LPD showed that the computer hard drive contained numerous visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit acts, at which time LPD referred this part of the investigation to HSI.
HSI agents conducted a forensic exam of the computer’s hard drive, which revealed 194 photographic images and 20 movies of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Alcala admitted to LPD investigators that he had downloaded the images himself because he was curious.
Alcala is expected to be sentenced in October 2012, at which time he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 maximum fine. Alcala has been in custody where he will remain pending that hearing.
The case was investigated by HSI and LPD. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice also provided assistance in the overall resolution of the matter.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roberto F. Ramirez, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."