News and Press Releases

Galveston Resident Sent to Prison for Possessing Child Pornography

April 24, 2013

GALVESTON, Texas – Aurelio J. Ariaz, 27, has been ordered to prison for more than eight years following his conviction of possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Ariaz entered a plea of guilty to the charge on Nov. 14, 2012.

Today, U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa handed Ariaz a total federal prison term of 97 months. The sentence will be immediately followed by a term of 15 years on supervised release during which he must comply with a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet. He will also have to register as a sex offender and must pay $2,000 in restitution.

The investigation began when in 2011 when officers with the U.S. Secret Service and Pearland Police Department both downloaded videos and images containing child pornography from a computer later found to be located at the residence of Ariaz in Galveston.

Agents executed a federal search warrant on Oct. 14, 2011, at which time Ariaz indicated he knew why they were at the residence. Ariaz admitted to using a peer-to-peer file sharing program to download child pornography for approximately two years, that he possessed nearly 500 images and videos and that they would be in his file sharing program. Ariaz also said most of images would be of boys 12-13 years old but that he may have some as young as 7-8 years old. A Dell computer and an HTC MyTouch cell phone were seized at that time.

A forensic exam was conducted which resulted in the discovery of approximately 852 images and 519 videos of child pornography.  Forensics agents found at least 10 images of child pornography had been downloaded using the file sharing program as late as Oct. 1, 2011. These images depicted prepubescent and pubescent males in a lascivious display of their genitals.

The charges against Ariaz were the result of an investigation conducted Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Secret Service and Pearland Police Department in conjunction with the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Ariaz was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.  

This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe, 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."

 

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