SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Marcos Lucero, 30, of Santa Ana, charging him with sexual exploitation of a child, receipt of child pornography, and coercion and enticement, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, between Aug. 13 and 19, 2021, Lucero asked an 11-year-old girl for explicit pictures, and she sent them to him via email. Lucero continued communicating with her when unbeknownst to him, an undercover law enforcement agent took over the minor victim’s account. Lucero suggested meeting up for sex, and traveled from Santa Ana to Fresno to have sex with the 11-year-old on Sept. 15, 2021.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Yang is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Lucero faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for sexual exploitation of a child, and a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine for the coercion and enticement charge. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case 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 those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet-safety education.